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After all that, little change in the Kansas Legislature; Obama takes Douglas County; Schlingensiepen does well in Lawrence, Topeka; and Obamacare decision awaits Brownback
Some of the faces in the Kansas Legislature will change, but after all the campaigning, outside money, and unprecedented redistricting, last night's election kept Republican-Democratic margins the same as before: the House at 92-33 Republican and the Senate 32-8 Republican.
It's possible those numbers could change slightly after recounts.
Several longtime House members were defeated including Democrats Eber Phelps from Hays, Bill Feuerborn from Garnett, Geraldine Flaharty from Wichita, and Republicans Mike Burgess from Topeka and Brenda Landwehr from Wichita.
State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, lost in his attempt to gain a Senate seat, and two Wyandotte County senators fell, Democrat Kelly Kultala and Republican Chris Steineger.
And while the Republican/Democratic numbers hold steady, conservative Republicans own a majority of the GOP caucus in the Senate after a slew of moderate Republicans were swept out in the August primary.
In the presidential race, Kansas went solidly for Republican Mitt Romney with only Douglas and Wyandotte counties giving majorities to President Barack Obama.
In the 2nd Congressional District race, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, won a third term against Democrat Tobias Schlingensiepen 57 percent to 39 percent. But if the district comprised only its two largest counties — Shawnee and Douglas — Schlingensiepen would have won.
Schlingensiepen outpaced Jenkins in Douglas County 56 percent to 40 percent, and Shawnee County, 49 percent to 47 percent.
But the counties surrounding Douglas County went bigtime for Jenkins, as did the counties in southeast Kansas.
Now that the election is over, a major question for Gov. Sam Brownback is how Kansas will respond to a Nov. 16 deadline under the Affordable Care Act to decide whether the state will partner in running a health insurance exchange or leave it to the feds. Asked this morning, the governor's office said they would get an answer on that soon.
UPDATE: Governor's office didn't provide a statement by end of day, but Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who has wanted the state to do its own exchange, issued this comment: “We will be reaching out to the governor to discuss choices about an exchange—whether it could go forward as a state/federal partnership or whether it could be a federal exchange. We look forward to having that discussion soon, since the deadline for the decision is set for Nov. 16.”