U.S. Senate democratic candidates
Lives in: Kansas City, Kan.
Work experience: Public affairs consultant
Political experience: Current state senator for 10 years and served six years in the Kansas House. He lost a 2006 statewide election for Kansas Secretary of State.
Lives in: Overland Park
Work experience: Current assistant dean for student academic services at Baker University, where she teaches and oversees support services for students
Lives in: Prairie Village
Work experience: Retired communications executive, journalist and teacher.
Political experience: Worked on several campaigns including Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore.
Lives in: Lawrence
Work experience: A certified public accountant and lawyer with a firm in Overland Park; also a U.S. Army reservist who served two tours in Iraq.
Lives in: Shawnee
Work experience: Retired railroad engineer
Political experience: Won the 2004 Democratic U.S. Senate primary but dropped out for the general election to allow a candidate who actively campaigned to participate.
The state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary hasn’t featured the fundraising haul and harsh political ads of the GOP primary between U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt.
In the Democratic field, only one of the five candidates currently holds elected office.
But each of the Democratic candidates say they offer the best chance to defeat either Moran or Tiahrt in the general election and represent Kansas in the Senate.
The candidates are Sen. David Haley, of Kansas City, Kan.; Overland Park resident Lisa Johnston, an assistant dean at Baker University; communications executive Charles Schollenberger, of Prairie Village; and, Lawrence resident Patrick Wiesner, an accountant and attorney.
Robert Conroy, a retired railroad engineer from Shawnee, is also on the ballot but is not actively campaigning.
The race looks to still be up for grabs. In a July 19 Survey USA poll of 406 likely Democratic primary voters, Johnston led with 23 percent over Schollenberger, at 14 percent, and Haley, at 12 percent.
But 36 percent of the respondents were still undecided. Wiesner and Conroy each landed support from 7 percent.
Johnston said her experience in higher education would benefit the state and that educators are under-represented in the Senate.
“We need leaders who are committed to strengthening our schools, moving us forward as far as job growth,” she said.
Schollenberger says his focus is on creating jobs and that the party would benefit from his experience helping candidates in the state.
“We need programs that will help extend unemployment benefits, and we need to perhaps have a second stimulus if employment doesn’t pick up,” he said.
Haley, who has served in the Kansas Senate since 2001, said he has a track record of helping pass bipartisan legislation in Topeka while Congress frequently suffers from gridlock, especially on economic issues.
“We need someone who will work in a compromising fashion to ensure that Kansans get more from Washington,” he said.
Wiesner has voiced concern about adding to the federal debt. As an Army reservist who has served two terms in Iraq, he said the U.S. should leave the country by the agreed timeline.
“The government of Iraq is deliberately not bring prepared,” he said. “They plan to ask us to stay after the agreed deadline.”
Unlike Haley, Schollenberger and Johnston, Wiesner did not support extending unemployment benefits, saying Congress needs to address the deficit. Schollenberger said not extending benefits could lead to more economic problems down the road.
The primary election is Tuesday.