Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Like No Other

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Like No Other

The 2012 Kansas Republican Primary is turning out to be like no other, and the deep political thinkers, and armchair quarterbacks are having a near impossible time handicapping this election.

There are lots of new spices thrown into the KS GOP simmering pot in 2012.

First, and foremost, there was of course, redistricting, which drew dozens of incumbents into districts where they are forced to run against one another. Of course, some chose to move or run for different offices rather than compete against friends and allies. One of the crazier instances: TerriLois Gregory, moved from Baldwin City to Ottawa to avoid running against Eudora's Anthony Brown. Both conservative legislators were drawn into the 10th District.

Apparently, both Brown and Gregory decided to fall on their swords for one another, because when the dust settled after redistricting, Brown decided to run for the Senate against incumbent Dem. Tom Holland. And Gregory chose to move to Ottawa (OTTAWA!!!) to run for the House in the 59th District.

Party insiders are pessimistic about the chances of both candidates. Holland is fairly popular incumbent. And Gregory is being painted as a carpet bagger in a fierce primary against a hometown Ottawa attorney, Blaine Finch.

In the meantime, there is only one GOP candidate in the seat Brown and Gregory abandoned -- Erica Anderson of Baldwin City. Anderson will face Democrat John Wilson, Lawrence, in the general election.

Will the seat remain in Republican hands? That's tough to say now that no incumbents are in the mix. But that's the story across much of the eastern part of the state.

No one knows exactly what to expect. There will be no big names on the ballot in Johnson County -- no Governor's race to drum up crowds, no Congressional fights -- Yoder is running unopposed. Add the confusion of redistricting to the mix, and only one countywide race snoozefest of a sheriff's race, and officials are anticipating stunningly low turnout for the August primary.

The Johnson County Election Commissioner, Brian Newby, is preparing for 25 percent turnout, but I think it will be a miracle if even that many registered voters head to the polls.

All that means is that the outcome of any race is really any man's guess. 

Democrat John Wilson of Lawrence and Republican Erica Anderson of Baldwin City will face off in the 10th House District race.

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