Topeka Crowded Republican fields in three of Kansas' four congressional districts highlighted Tuesday's primary election, and the one GOP incumbent on the ballot faces a challenge from the right.
In two races — involving the 1st District and 4th District — Republicans are vying for a chance to replace Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt, both of whom decided to run for the U.S. Senate.
Leading the pack of six Republicans in the 1st District are state Sens. Tim Huelskamp of Fowler and Jim Barnett of Emporia and Tracey Mann, a commercial real estate salesman from Salina. Barnett was the GOP's 2006 gubernatorial nominee, but lost to Democrat Kathleen Sebelius.
The winner will face Democrat Alan Jilka — a former Salina mayor and the only Kansas congressional candidate who doesn't have a primary — in the general election in November.
Nine Republicans and two Democrats are running in the 3rd District. They are seeking to replace Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore, who is retiring. Democrats have held the district — which covers Johnson, Wyandotte and eastern Douglas counties — since 1998, when Moore was first elected.
In the Democratic race, Moore's wife, Stephene, faces Prairie Village writer Thomas Scherer.
The Republican field includes Kansas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin Yoder of Overland Park and former state Rep. Patricia Lightner of Olathe. The two have emerged as the leaders of a race that in recent weeks has taken a negative tone, including a Yoder mailing that pictured Lightner in a pink ballerina costume and with the face of a donkey, the Democratic Party mascot.
Five Republicans are running in the 4th District, which centers on Wichita. The candidates include Mike Pompeo, a member of the Republican National Committee; Wichita oil company executive Wink Hartman; and state Sen. Jean Schodorf.
The winner will face the victor in the Democratic primary between state Rep. Raj Goyle and Robert Tillman, a former Sedgwick County court services officer.
Goyle has mounted a strong campaign, giving Democrats hope that they can regain the seat they haven't held since 1994.
In the 2nd District, incumbent Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins faces a challenge from state Sen. Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha, who questions whether Jenkins is true to the conservative ideals she professes. Jenkins is seeking her second term.
The GOP candidate will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary between Cheryl Hudspeth of Girard, Sean Tevis of Olathe and Thomas Koch of Leavenworth.