Former lawmaker Dennis McKinney to announce bid for Congress

Former House Democratic Leader Dennis McKinney, of Greensburg, is planning to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming special election in the 4th Congressional District. McKinney said he plans to make a formal announcement Wednesday.

The special election is being held to fill the vacancy created when Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, of Wichita, was confirmed as CIA director in the Donald Trump administration.

McKinney served 16 years in the Kansas House, from 1992 through 2008, including the last six years as minority leader. In 2008, then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed him as state treasurer, filling the vacancy created when Lynn Jenkins was elected to the 2nd District congressional seat. He ran for a full term in that office in 2010 but was defeated by Republican Ron Estes.

Estes, of Wichita, is also expected to announce plans to seek the Republican nomination for the 4th District seat.

McKinney is generally seen as a conservative Democrat who as a legislator voted in favor of increased restrictions on abortion procedures. He was also seen as a supporter of increased funding for public education.

The last Democrat to hold the 4th District seat was former Rep. Dan Glickman, who held that seat for nine terms until 1994, when he lost his bid for a 10th term to Republican Todd Tiahrt.

Gov. Sam Brownback has not yet set a date for the special election. Under a new law just enacted to accommodate Pompeo’s resignation, he must issue a proclamation within five days of the vacancy announcement calling for a special election to take place at least 75 days, but not more than 90 days, from the date of the proclamation.

Political parties will hold district conventions to select their nominees for the special election. Those conventions must be held at least 15 days, but not more than 25 days, from the date of the proclamation.

Kansas Democratic Party executive director Kerry Gooch said the party has not yet set a tentative date for its convention, but he expected it will be held either the weekend of Feb. 11 or Feb. 18.

The 4th District covers all or part of 16 counties in south-central Kansas, including Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita.

In the 2016 elections, Pompeo won the seat by a 31-point margin over Democrat Daniel Giroux, 61-30 percent. Trump carried the district, 60-33 percent over Democrat Hillary Clinton.