WRITER: Peter Hancock

Voters Guide: Secretary of state race a referendum on Kobach's performance

The office of secretary of state used to be considered a low-profile ministerial job. The main functions are to supervise elections, keep track of business and corporate filings and serve as the principal record-keeper of the state. All that changed in 2010 with the election of Republican Kris Kobach, who reshaped the office into a springboard for advancing a national agenda focusing on illegal immigration, ...

Voters Guide: Incumbent state treasurer facing off against Lawrence Democrat

The office of state treasurer is one of the lower-profile elected offices in Kansas state government. Its primary function is to manage the state's idle fund accounts. But the office also manages a number of specialized programs such as the unclaimed property division, the state's Learning Quest college savings plans, and ABLE, a tax-advantaged savings plan that helps people with disabilities and their families ...

Voters Guide: Attorney general's race pits Republican incumbent against Lawrence lawyer

This year's race for attorney general features two-term incumbent Republican Derek Schmidt, a former state senator, against Democrat Sarah Swain, a Lawrence defense attorney. The attorney general is considered to be the state's chief law enforcement officer, assisting local county and district attorneys in criminal prosecutions. But the office also represents the state in court whenever the state is sued or its ...

Voters Guide: State senator, former health care services manager vying for insurance commissioner

The office of insurance commissioner opened up this year when incumbent Republican Ken Selzer decided to run for governor. He finished fourth in a crowded GOP primary. The office is generally in charge of regulating the insurance industry in Kansas, which includes licensing insurance agents and overseeing compliance with state laws and regulations that govern the insurance business. The candidates this year ...

Why did you get that political mailer? It's about your 'score'

TOPEKA - This close to Election Day, a lot of people may be wondering why their mail boxes are stuffed with particular kinds of political ads, and why their friends or neighbors might be getting completely different mailers, or maybe even none at all. The answer is, it's about your "score." That's a number, and sometimes a whole set of numbers, that political parties and campaigns use to predict how likely you ...

Office worker's mistake in another county deletes longtime Lawrence voter's name from rolls

TOPEKA - A Lawrence voter said she had to cast a provisional ballot when she tried to cast an advance ballot because her name had been mistakenly deleted from the voter registration list. State officials later said the deletion was the result of a clerical error. Jennifer Tucker, 40, said she has been consistently registered to vote in Lawrence since 1996 and has been a regular voter throughout that time. She ...

Kansas Democrats air concerns about election integrity, call on Kobach to recuse himself

TOPEKA - Democratic leaders in Kansas called on Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from supervising the upcoming election, saying they have concerns about the integrity of the process, including possible efforts to suppress people's votes. "We have an incredibly unique situation in Kansas today where the many who will count the votes could benefit by that count," House Minority Leader ...

Even after Trump visit, Kansas governor's race still tied, new poll says

TOPEKA — A new poll released this week suggests the Kansas governor's race is still statistically tied, despite President Donald Trump's high-profile campaign rally on behalf of Republican Kris Kobach earlier this month. The survey, by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, shows Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly each with 41 percent of the vote. Independent candidate Greg Orman showed up with 10 percent, ...

Kansas ethics panel may seek more disclosure on independent campaign advertising

TOPEKA - Kansas lawmakers may be asked next year to broaden a state law so that voters will be able to know who is sending out and who is paying for certain kinds of campaign material that is not directly related to any candidate's campaign. The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission will decide next month whether to include that as one of its recommendations for the 2019 Legislature to consider. Under current ...

Despite hopes for 2018, Kansas Democrats still face long-term challenges

TOPEKA — Former Kansas governor and Obama-era cabinet secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered an interesting observation when she spoke to a Lawrence audience last week. Responding to a question about whether she would ever run for public office again, she gave an emphatic "no," and then offered this advice for both political parties. "We should never, in my humble opinion, we should never have a 70-year-old ...

A 'most treasured' honor: Eisenhower statue dedicated on Kansas Statehouse grounds

TOPEKA - Members of former President Dwight Eisenhower's family joined Gov. Jeff Colyer and other dignitaries Monday to dedicate a statue of the former commander in chief on the Statehouse grounds in Topeka. "I believe of all the honors my grandfather might have gotten at one time or another, this would be one of his most treasured," Mary Eisenhower said of the statue. "He loved Kansas. He loved Kansas so much ...

2nd District candidates clash during televised debate

TOPEKA - The two major party candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat took some of the sharpest verbal jabs at each other yet in the 2018 campaign, clashing on issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security to the partisan nature of Washington politics. During a televised debate Monday night on KTWU-TV in Topeka, Democrat Paul Davis and Republican Steve Watkins each tried to portray the other as an ...

Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman speaks to reporters after he and his running mate Sen. John Doll delivered more than 10,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office in Topeka, Kan., Monday morning, Aug. 6, 2018, to formalize their campaign for governor. (Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

Independent Greg Orman still sees path to victory in governor's race

TOPEKA – Greg Orman rose to prominence in the Kansas political world quickly in 2014 when he ran as an independent candidate and threatened to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. It was a race that drew national and international attention because the balance of power in the Senate was at stake that year. And Orman actually led in several polls leading up to Election Day, leading many to ...

Kansas reports job losses in September; unemployment rate unchanged

TOPEKA - The Kansas economy lost an estimated 6,900 jobs in September, including 3,800 private-sector jobs, while people who remained employed worked more hours, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures from the Kansas Department of Labor. The state's unemployment rate, which is measured by a different survey, remained unchanged from August at 3.3 percent. "The losses were spread across government ...

Vice President Pence stumps for 2nd District candidate Steve Watkins in Kansas

Updated at 4 p.m. Friday TOPEKA - Vice President Mike Pence came to Topeka Friday to rally support and raise money for Republican 2nd District congressional candidate Steve Watkins. Speaking to an audience of about 160 people, who paid $250 each to attend the event, Pence said electing Watkins would be critical for Republicans to hold onto their majority in the U.S. House and continue advancing their ...

Kobach skeptical of climate science; other candidates call it a major policy concern

TOPEKA — Republican candidate for governor Kris Kobach said this week that he agrees that the Earth's climate is changing, but he is skeptical about whether human activity is causing it, and whether it poses a major environmental concern. "The Earth’s climate has been changing ever since the Earth was created," Kobach said during an interview following a press conference Thursday. "The bigger question is ...

Kobach asks court not to release video because of potential use in political ads

TOPEKA — An attorney for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is asking a federal judge not to release a videotaped deposition that Kobach gave in a lawsuit challenging the state’s proof of citizenship voting law, arguing that the tape would be used against him politically in his bid for governor. The video, which was played in open court during the trial of that case earlier this year, includes Kobach’s ...

Sebelius optimistic about future of public service, despite current conditions

Former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius told a Lawrence audience Thursday that she is optimistic about the next generation of public leaders, despite what she sees as a disturbing trend of growing disrespect for public service. "I think we have a generation of public-minded younger people who see themselves as global citizens who are eager to figure out ways that they can be involved and engaged," Sebelius said. ...

Kobach proposes more work requirements, other restrictions, for state welfare and Medicaid benefits

TOPEKA - Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach outlined a package of welfare reform initiatives Tuesday that he said he wants to pursue that would limit the ability of many people to receive cash and food assistance or Medicaid benefits. Citing the state’s low unemployment rate, Kobach, the current secretary of state, said he would propose stricter work requirements for able-bodied adults to receive ...

Kansas gubernatorial candidates frame election as different kinds of referendums

TOPEKA - The two major-party candidates for governor in Kansas offered sharply different views Tuesday on what this year’s election is all about. In a debate in Wichita sponsored by the Kansas Broadcasters Association, which was streamed live by a number of Kansas TV stations, Democrat Laura Kelly framed the race as a referendum on former Gov. Sam Brownback, and she argued that Republican candidate Kris ...