Archive for Tuesday, June 25, 2002

State seats to go uncontested

June 25, 2002


— Six of 13 Lawrence-area seats in the Kansas House of Representatives will go uncontested, mirroring a state and national trend of waning interest in running for elective office.

Statewide, 24 Democrats and 28 Republicans a total of 52 seats will have no opposition. There also are 16 Republican districts and two Democratic districts where the winner of the primary will face no general election opposition.

"I just find that amazing," said Ron Thornburgh, secretary of state. He pointed out that 52 seats was nearly a voting majority in the 125-member House. "That number continues to grow every election. Fewer and fewer people are interested in running for office."

The reason? People don't run for office for the same reasons they don't vote, Thornburgh said: "They don't think they can make a difference. And let's face it, people have busy lives. But this abdication of responsibility is appalling."

The comments from Thornburgh came after Monday's noon filing deadline for Kansas House and State Board of Education candidates.

Because a new law redrawing the state's four U.S. House districts is still under review in federal court, the filing deadline for those seats is not until July 9. Statewide candidates had until June 10 to file.

In the Lawrence area, incumbent Democrats Barbara Ballard and Troy Findley will be unopposed for re-election in the 44th and 46th districts, respectively.

Incumbent Republican Tom Sloan of Lawrence has no Democratic challenger in his 45th District, but will face a primary race against Melissa A. Boisen, a Republican who listed her address as 3728 Overland Court.

In the 10th House District, incumbent Republican Ralph Tanner of Baldwin faces no primary opposition, but he will have competition from Democrat Tom Holland, also of Baldwin, in the general election.

Incumbents in three Leavenworth County districts also are without opposition. Those are the 39th District of Ray Cox, a Bonner Springs Republican; the 41st District of Marti Crow, a Leavenworth Democrat; and the 42nd District of Kenny Wilk, a Lansing Republican.

In the 38th District, Rob Boyer, an Olathe Republican, will face Carlie Abel, a Eudora Democrat. In the 40th District, incumbent Democrat Candy Ruff will face a general election challenge from Mike Stieben, a Leavenworth Republican.

In the 5th District, incumbent Democrat Bill Feuerborn of Garnett will face Wes Plaisted, an Osawatomie Republican, in the general election.

In the 47th District, incumbent Lee Tafanelli, an Ozawkie Republican, will face Bruce Hanson, an Oskaloosa Democrat, in the general election.

In the 53rd District, incumbent Roger E. Toelkes, a Topeka Democrat, will face a general election challenge from the winner of a Republican primary between LaVern W. Abney of Topeka and Douglas W. Desch of Berryton.

In the 59th District, Republican Joe D. Humerickhouse of Osage City is unopposed.

Five of the 10 Board of Education seats are to be filled in the Nov. 5 general election. Members serve four-year terms, and opposition was lacking for those seats, as well.

Democrat Janet Waugh of Kansas City, Kan., is the only candidate who filed in the board's 1st District, which now reaches into the east part of Lawrence.

On the ballot elsewhere are John Bacon, R-Olathe, in the 3rd District; Sonny Rundell, R-Syracuse, in the 5th District; and Val DeFever, R-Independence, in the 9th District.

The only incumbent board member who had not filed was Harold Voth, R-Haven, in the 7th District.

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