Dozens file on last day to get on Aug. 7 primary ballot in Kansas

TOPEKA — More than two dozen candidates filed for statewide, congressional and state legislative offices Friday as the deadline for major party candidates to get on the Aug. 7 primary ballot passed at noon.

Independent candidates wishing to run in the general election still have until noon on Monday, Aug. 6, to file for office.

Most of the last-minute filings were for state legislative races, where Republicans have candidates in 101 of the House’s 125 districts, and Democrats have candidates in 86.

House Majority Leader Don Hineman, R-Dighton, was one of the people recruiting GOP candidates to run for the House. He was particularly focused on recruiting moderate Republicans because five of them are stepping down this year.

“We have a good, solid moderate in each of those districts, so I feel good that those folks did what they could to replace themselves,” he said in an interview.

One of the most hotly contested open House seats this year is the 45th District of west Lawrence and western Douglas County, where Republican Rep. Tom Sloan is retiring after 12 terms in office.

Two Republicans have filed in that race, Cynthia Smith and Ronald Thacker, both of Lawrence. But that’s also a seat that Democrats believe they can pick up because it’s a district that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried handily, 59-33 percent, in the 2016 presidential race.

“Initially, when Tom was running, we were working it pretty hard because it’s such a good numbers district,” House Minority Leader Jim Ward, of Wichita, said in a phone interview. “Once he left, we were able to find some really good candidates.”

Former Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx filed as a Democrat in that race Friday. He joins two other Democrats in that district’s primary: Aidan Loveland Koster, of Lecompton, and Steven X. Davis, of Lawrence.

Overall, Ward said he felt good about the field of Democrats running for House seats this year.

“We have a solid, good slate of candidates,” he said. “We’re very enthusiastic, and energy is on our side.”

In other Lawrence races, Rep. Boog Highberger will face a primary challenge from University of Kansas student Benjamin Ferlo. No Republican filed in that district.

Meanwhile, incumbent Reps. Barbara Ballard and Eileen Horn, both Democrats, have no Democratic or Republican opponents.

Elsewhere in the state, there was one notable absence from the candidate list. Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, who has chaired the House Education Committee, did not file for re-election. Only one person has filed in that race, Republican Bill Pannbacker, of Washington.

There were also a number of last-minute filings for statewide and congressional seats.

One new candidate jumped into the race for governor, Democrat Arden Anderson, of Olathe, a family physician and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, according to his website.

Lawrence criminal defense attorney Sarah Swain was a last-minute filer in the race for attorney general.

Also filing in that race, though, was a man named Vermin Supreme, who appeared to be making a joke of the race when he came into the secretary of state’s office wearing what looked like a fireman’s boot as a hat and a tutu around his waist. He filed as a Republican.

In the 1st District congressional race, incumbent U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, drew a Republican primary challenge from Nick Reinecker, of Inman. Democrat Alan LaPolice, of Clyde, is also running for that seat.

And in the 3rd District congressional race, Republican Joe Myers, of Overland Park, filed Friday to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder. Another Republican, Trevor Keegan, of Lenexa, filed in that race on Wednesday. There are six Democrats running in the 3rd District primary.

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