Kansas Farm Bureau PAC not making endorsements for governor, 2nd District

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, February 2014.

TOPEKA – The political action committee of the Kansas Farm Bureau issued its list of endorsements in the upcoming general election Wednesday, but it was a list just as notable for who wasn’t on it as it was for who did make the cut.

The PAC, known as Voters Organized To Elect Friends of Farm Bureau, or VOTE-FBF, did not make any endorsement in this year’s races for Kansas governor or the 2nd District congressional seat.

Ryan Flickner, senior director of advocacy for Kansas Farm Bureau, said the PAC uses a “grassroots” process for selecting candidates to endorse, which involves taking feedback from Farm Bureau members in all 105 counties.

After the primaries, Flickner said, the PAC sought feedback from its members again about the general election. But he said, “There just was not enough positive feedback — or feedback, period — for counties to want to engage in those races.”

Leading up to the Aug. 7 primaries, VOTE-FBF endorsed incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, who lost narrowly to Secretary of State Kris Kobach. It also endorsed state Sen. Caryn Tyson, of Parker, in the GOP primary for the 2nd District. She narrowly lost to Army veteran Steve Watkins.

Kobach now faces Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly and independent candidate Greg Orman in the general election. Watkins faces former Democratic state Rep. Paul Davis in the 2nd District race.

In local races for the Kansas House, VOTE-FBF endorsed four Lawrence Democrats: Eileen Horn in the 10th District; Barbara Ballard in the 44th District; Mike Amyx in the 45th District; and Boog Highberger in the 46th District.

Horn, Ballard and Highberger do not face any opposition in the general election. Amyx faces Republican Cynthia Smith in the 45th District, which is an open race this year because of the retirement of Republican Rep. Tom Sloan.

However, VOTE-FBF did not make an endorsement in the 42nd District, which includes eastern Douglas County and portions of Leavenworth County, where incumbent Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie, is being challenged by Democrat Thea Perry, of Lawrence.

Flickner said that was due mainly to Karleskint’s opposition to a bill during the 2018 session that was intended to help Tyson Foods develop a large-scale poultry processing plant outside of Tonganoxie.


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