Second Democrat announces in 1st District

Jim Sherow, a professor at Kansas State University and former Manhattan mayor, formally launched his bid for the 1st District congressional seat, setting up a rare Democratic primary in the heavily Republican district.

Bryan Whitney, a 2013 graduate of Wichita State University, previously announced he is running for the seat.

Sherow is a former mayor of Manhattan who has taught history and agriculture at K-State for 22 years. He said in an email today that he is launching his campaign from his hometown in Hutchinson and aims to be the first Democratic candidate to hold that office since 1956.

“For the first time ever western Kansas has not had a representative on the Agriculture Committee,” Sherow said in an email statement announcing his candidacy.

The seat is currently held by two-term Republican Tim Huelskamp, who was removed from his seats on the House agriculture and budget committees after frequently crossing swords with House GOP leaders. That has upset farm groups, including the Kansas Farm Bureau’s political action committee, which so far has not made an endorsement in the race.

Sherow boasts that he has written several books about the High Plains and its water needs.

The “Big First” district covers 69 counties in western and central Kansas and voter registration there heavily favors Republicans. It was previously held by Jerry Moran (1997-2011) and Pat Roberts (1981-1997), both of whom are now U.S. Senators. Before that it was held by Keith Sebelius (1969-1981) and Bob Dole (1963-1969).