Kansas House member to replace Gov.-elect Kelly in Senate
photo by: Peter Hancock
TOPEKA — Democrats have picked a Kansas House member to fill Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s former state Senate seat, more than three decades after he ran unsuccessfully for it.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Democratic precinct committee members in Kelly’s former Topeka-area district chose Rep. Vic Miller on Thursday to serve the final two years of Kelly’s four-year term. Miller would not say whether he would run for the seat in 2020.
Democrats in Wichita plan to meet Saturday to fill the former Senate seat belonging to Lt. Gov.-elect Lynn Rogers. Miller said the departure of both Kelly and Rogers from the Senate left Democrats needing someone with legislative experience to replace Kelly.
In his race, Miller defeated three other candidates, receiving 49 of 80 votes.
“I love politics,” Miller said during the meeting at the Topeka public library. “We will show Kansas what it’s like to be governed by Democrats and not incompetents.”
Miller, 67, is an attorney who served in the Kansas House from 1979 through 1984 and then lost a hotly contested Senate race that year, receiving about 48 percent of the vote. The Senate district has grown in the years since to include more rural areas near Topeka, and Kelly first won the seat in 2004.
After Miller’s 1984 loss, he was director of the Department of Revenue division dealing with property taxes for two years and became a power in local politics. He served 15 years on the Shawnee County Commission and eight years on the Topeka City Council before becoming a municipal judge in 2011.
In 2016, he unseated state Rep. Ben Scott, of Topeka, in the Democratic primary and faced no Republican opponent to return to the Kansas House.