A Look at Top Kansas Legislative Primary Races
Kansas Moderates Oust Republican Senators in Johnson County
Two conservative Kansas state senators from Johnson County have lost their seats in Republican primary races.
Overland Park City Council member John Skubal defeated Senator Jeff Melcher of Leawood in the 11th Kansas Senate District. Melcher was seeking his second four-year term. Skubal is a business development officer for an engineering firm and former director of campus services at Johnson County Community College.
Skubal will face Democrat Skip Fannen of Leawood in the November election. In the 21st District, Dinah Sykes of Lenexa won her race over Senator Greg Smith of Overland Park. Sykes is a mother and former parent-teacher association president who made education funding a key issue. So did Skubal. Sykes will face Democrat Logan Heley of Overland Park in November.
Conservative Republican Majority Leader in the Kansas Senator Loses Primary
A retired college president has unseated Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce in the Republican primary. Former Hutchinson Community College President Ed Berger prevailed in Tuesday's election in the 34th state Senate District in south-central Kansas. Berger criticized fiscal policies pursued by Republican Governor Sam Brownback and said public schools aren't adequately funded. Berger also said Bruce was "in lockstep" with Brownback. Bruce is from Nickerson and has been majority leader for four years. He has remained a reliable Brownback ally amid the budget problems following massive income tax cuts in 2012 and 2013 championed by the governor. Berger served 23 years as the top administrator at Hutchinson Community College and retired in 2014. Berger will face Democrat Homer Gilson of Hutchinson in the November election.
In other Kansas Legislative Races...
A veteran of Topeka-area politics who once served in the Kansas Legislature has defeated a new state House member in the Democratic primary. Vic Miller prevailed easily Tuesday over Representative Ben Scott and state employee Brett Kell in the 58th Kansas House District of Topeka. No Republican ran for the seat in the Democratic-leaning district. Scott was selected last year by a handful of local Democratic officials to fill the seat after longtime Rep. Harold Lane stepped down. Scott is a pastor and president of the Topeka NAACP chapter. Miller served in the House in 1979-84 and left the Legislature after an unsuccessful run for the state Senate. He later served as a Shawnee County commissioner and municipal judge in Topeka.