Archive for Tuesday, June 11, 1996


June 11, 1996


A Democratic "placeholder" and a Libertarian filed Monday for Lawrence seats in the Kansas Legislature.

Beating the noon filing deadline Monday, former state Rep. Forrest Swall, a Democrat, filed as a "placeholder" candidate for the Kansas House 45th District seat.

Swall, who chairs the Douglas County Democratic Party, said he wanted to hold a spot open on the ballot while Democrats continue to search this summer for a candidate to face incumbent Rep. Tom Sloan, a Republican.

Meanwhile, a Libertarian candidate, Mason Messer, GG Bristol Ter., Apt. 3, filed Monday for the 44th District seat in the Kansas House. The seat, which covers roughly western Lawrence, is held by incumbent Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence.

Messer, 20, is a Kansas University junior who is studying economics. He filed with a slate of other Libertarians for local, state and national seats.

"It's partially a way of getting the Libertarian Party in the public eye," he said about his candidacy, pointing out that Libertarians favor reducing taxes and government involvement in private citizens' lives.

Messer's filing means that Ballard, who was first elected in 1992 and went unchallenged in 1994, will have two opponents in the Nov. 5 general election.

Joann Wiley, a Republican, filed Friday for the 44th District seat.

Wiley, 72, is in her sixth and final year representing Douglas County in the Silver Haired Legislature, a nonpartisan advocacy group for the elderly. This will be Wiley's second year as speaker for the Silver Haired Legislature.

Monday's filings means that all of Lawrence's legislators will face challengers in either the Aug. 6 primary or the Nov. 5 general election.

One of the last legislators to get a challenger was state Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence.

Democrat Chris O'Brien, a KU graduate teaching assistant, filed Friday in Topeka for the 2nd District seat in the Kansas Senate, which represents Lawrence and eastern Douglas County.

Because of an incorrect information from the Douglas County Clerk's office, the Journal-World incorrectly reported Saturday that O'Brien was seeking the 45th District seat.

"I'm just running to give people a choice," said O'Brien, a doctoral candidate in history. "I don't think anybody ought to run unopposed."

O'Brien has been the executive director of KU Graduate Student Council and was a member of KU's University Council and Student Senate.

No Republican candidates emerged as of Monday for the Kansas House 46th District seat, which represents eastern Lawrence.

However, incumbent Rep. Troy Findley, D-Lawrence, will have an opponent in the Democratic primary, Kevin Groenhagen, a conservative columnist for a local publication.

Swall said his filing for the 45th District seat against Sloan is designed to make sure a Democrat can run in the Nov. 5 general election.

"By filing it will hold the seat open and we will be able to fill it after the primary," Swall said. "We intend to have a Democratic candidate as an alternative to Tom Sloan."

Swall held the 45th District seat, which includes western Douglas County and several Lawrence neighborhoods, for two years before being defeated by Sloan in 1994. Swall said he wasn't interested in running himself.

"I have other significant life issues to address," Swall said. "I'm not in a position to be in the Legislature again. Had I been elected two years ago, I would be, but life goes on."

Swall, a Kansas University assistant professor of social welfare, now chairs the Douglas County Democratic Party and the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, in area legislative races, several incumbents will face challengers.

Incumbent Rep. Ralph Tanner, R-Baldwin, who represents the Kansas House 10th District seat, which includes southern Douglas County and Ottawa, will face Bettie Sue Shumway, an Ottawa Democrat. Shumway filed Friday.

Incumbent Rep. Joann Flower, R-Oskaloosa, who has held the Kansas House 47th District race seat for eight years, will face the winner of a Democratic primary. Becky S. Besser, Oskaloosa, filed Friday to run against Brad Blackwell, Eudora.

Also, incumbent Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, who represents western Douglas County in the state Senate's 19th District, will face the winner of a Republican primary.

Wesley Glenn, Lecompton, will face Joseph R. Ledbetter, Topeka, for the GOP nomination. Ledbetter filed Monday. Glenn filed May 31.

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