Jenkins draws GOP opponent as candidate fields take shape

As the deadline expired Monday for candidates to file for the Aug. 5 primary election, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins drew a Republican Party primary opponent.

Joshua Joel Tucker, 31, of Pittsburg, said he was unhappy with Jenkins’ votes to increase the debt ceiling and for national defense bills that he said included provisions to allow the indefinite detention of individuals without a trial.

“Congress has completely exceeded its constitutional limits and continues to spend us into debt oblivion,” said Tucker, who has never before run for office. He works as an applications developer and computer systems analyst for Pittsburg State University.

“To not primary her would be akin to saying that her positions are agreed to,” he said. Tucker described himself as belonging to the constitutional wing of the Republican Party.

Jenkins, R-Topeka, represents the 2nd House District, which includes Lawrence and most of eastern Kansas outside the Kansas City metropolitan area. Jenkins is seeking re-election to a fourth two-year term.

In the November general election, the winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Margie Wakefield, a Lawrence attorney, who has no primary opposition.

Last year, Jenkins supported efforts to de-fund the federal government unless the Affordable Care Act was de-funded or delayed. Then she voted to for the bipartisan measure to raise the debt ceiling.

At the time she said, “I voted today to get our government back open, to prevent any default on our obligations and get people back to work while our negotiators have a serious conversation about our debt crisis.”

In other developments, Lawrence attorney Gregory Robinson filed to run against Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan in the Democratic Party primary to represent the First District. Until May 23 Robinson was a registered Republican.

The district includes most of central and eastern Lawrence.

Gaughan, a political consultant and active in Democratic Party politics, was appointed to the position in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Charles Jones, who resigned. Gaughan was elected to a full term in 2010.

Two local legislative races will feature primaries.

Former Lawrence mayor Dennis “Boog” Highberger and political consultant Abbie Hodgson will square off in the Democratic Primary for House District 46, which is being vacated by House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who is running for governor. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican J. Douglas Robinson, a salesman at Home Depot, who has no primary opponent.

State Rep. Tom Sloan faces Jeremy Ryan Pierce in the GOP primary for House District 45.

State. Rep. John Wilson will face Nicolas D. VanWhye in the November general election for House District 10.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard is unopposed in House District 44.

Among statewide candidates. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, faces a host of potential challengers in his re-election bid.

The GOP primary will feature Roberts, D.J. Smith, of Osawatomie; Milton Wolf, of Leawood; and Alvin Zahnter, of Russell. On the Democratic side are Chad Taylor, of Topeka, and Patrick Wiesner, of Lawrence.

Jennifer Winn, of Haysville, has challenged Gov. Sam Brownback in the Republican primary. The winner will face Davis.

Scott Morgan, of Lawrence, has challenged Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the GOP primary with the winner advancing to run against former state Sen. Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, in the general election.

No contested primaries formed for attorney general and state treasurer, but five people are vying for the Republican Party nod for state insurance commissioner, which will be open with the retirement of incumbent Republican Sandy Praeger, of Lawrence. The GOP candidates for insurance commissioner are Beverly Gossage, of Eudora; David Powell, of El Dorado; Ken Selzer, of Leawood; Clark Shultz, of Lindsborg; and John Toplikar, of Olathe. The lone Democrat seeking the job is Dennis Anderson, of Overland Park.

Two Republican primaries will be held in State Board of Education races. In District 5, incumbent Sally Cauble, of Dodge City, will face Meg Wilson, of Great Bend, and in District 9, Jim Porter, of Fredonia, will face Martin Burke, of Riverton. The are no Democrats in either race. The current representative of District 9 is Education Board Chairwoman Jana Shaver, a Republican from Independence who is not seeking re-election.