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Issues to Watch in Kansas Primary Races

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5 Things to Know for Tuesday's Kansas Primary
as chosen by The Associated Press

A look at various issues and facts affecting your primary election day in Kansas:

1. LONG LINES AT THE POLLS? PROBABLY NOT.

Polls in Kansas opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7 p.m. But don't fear long lines at voting sites. State officials estimate a paltry 18 percent of registered Kansas voters will cast ballots. You should dress comfortably, however, as the heat wave that's gripped the state isn't going anywhere. Election Day temperatures are expected to range from the mid-90s to above 100 in some spots.

2. NO STATEWIDES? NO PROBLEM.

Kansas is in an odd political cycle — one without a prominent race for governor, U.S. Senate or any other office requiring statewide ballots. But that doesn't make things any less interesting. In fact, some political observers suggest the individual races in the state Senate — featuring battles between conservative and moderate Republicans that could determine how Governor Sam Brownback leads Kansas — may end up being far more influential on the daily lives of Kansans than typical statewide races.

3. ELECTION COULD AFFECT SCHOOL SCIENCE STANDARDS

Following the pattern set in the state Senate races, results of primary contests for Board of Education are less about individual races and more about what they add up to. Who wins the primaries and the November general election races could ultimately determine the role of evolution in the teaching of science standards in Kansas. Few project the debate will earn the state the same level of unwanted attention as in past years, but Tuesday's primaries show the issue hasn't exactly gone away.

4. NOT EXACTLY HOUSEHOLD NAMES

Few spots in this election season capture the plight of the Kansas Democrat quite like the races for Congress. On Tuesday, five Democrats — none of whom have held elected office before — were battling for the right to advance to what many believe will be wide losses to Republicans in November.

5. NEXT: DOGS AND CATS, GETTING ALONG.

Some moderate Republicans who are trying to retain control of the Kansas Senate will likely get some help from ... Democrats? State Chairwoman Joan Wagnon says Kansas Democratic Party officials have seen hundreds of people change their party affiliations to the GOP in counties with contested Senate races on the primary ballot. The state GOP allows only registered Republicans to vote in its primaries.


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