Tagkansas

Stories about Kansas

Three states to have veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party

2022-Veto-Proof

Two of four states heading into the 2022 elections that had a veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party—Kentucky and Kansas—maintained that status after the elections. Vermont became a state with a veto-proof legislative majority and opposing-party governor as a result of the 2022 elections.

Maryland and Massachusetts will no longer have a veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party since the party that held a veto-proof majority also gained control of the governor’s office in the 2022 elections.

State governors may veto bills advanced by the state legislature. With sufficient support—between one-half and two-thirds of sitting legislators, depending on the state—state legislatures may overturn a gubernatorial veto. When one party controls enough seats to overturn a veto without support from the other party, a legislature can hold a veto-proof majority.

Heading into the 2022 elections, four states had a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislative majority of the opposing party: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Three states—North Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin—could have switched to having a veto-proof majority and an opposing party governor due to the 2022 elections.

  1. In Kentucky, Republicans maintained their veto-proof majority in both chambers of the state legislature. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is not up for re-election until 2023.
  2. In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly (D) won re-election. Republicans maintained their veto-proof majority in the state Senate since that chamber did not hold regular elections. Republicans also won at least two-thirds of the seats in the state House of Representatives.
  3. In Maryland, Democrats won the governorship while maintaining their veto-proof state legislative majority and became a Democratic trifecta. Wes Moore (D) won the Maryland gubernatorial election. Incumbent Larry Hogan (R) was term-limited.
  4. In Massachusetts, Democrats won the governorship while maintaining their veto-proof state legislative majority and became a Democratic trifecta. Maura Healey (D) won the Massachusetts gubernatorial election. Incumbent Charlie Baker (R) did not run for re-election.
  5. In Vermont, Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the state legislature and Phil Scott (R) was re-elected governor.

Two states could have gained a veto-proof legislative majority with an opposing party governor in 2022.

  1. In North Carolina, Republicans gained a three-fifths majority in the state Senate. The final margin of the Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives has not yet been determined. North Carolina holds gubernatorial elections in presidential election years, so Gov. Roy Cooper (D) was not up for re-election.
  2. In Wisconsin, Republicans gained a two-thirds majority in the state Senate but fell at least two seats short of a two-thirds majority in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D) won re-election.

Four states with a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislature of the opposing party—Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts—maintained that status after the 2020 elections. None of those four states held gubernatorial elections that year. Five states could have switched to having a veto-proof state legislature and an opposing party governor because of the 2020 elections but none of them achieved the sufficient legislative majorities to achieve that status.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Supermajority

https://ballotpedia.org/Veto-proof_state_legislatures_and_opposing_party_governors_in_the_2020_elections



All candidates for Kansas House of Representatives District 15 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kansas House of Representatives District 15  — Allison Hougland (D) and Matt Bingesser (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Kansas’s state legislature. Kansas is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?                    

Roberts:

“Reducing Residential Property Tax for Kansans is the topic that is prevalent for voters in House District 15. Most frequently constituents have voiced concerns about staying in their homes with the continuous increase in Property taxes. The House Democrats have a plan for that of which I am fully on board.”

Bingesser:       

“I am passionate about promoting good government, strong schools, safe communities, and enhanced infrastructure. We need to work towards policies that benefit the people, not just the special interests. I am committed to being an independent voice for my community.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Kansas House of Representatives District 64 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kansas House of Representatives District 64 — Patricia Smetana (D) and Lewis Bloom (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Kansas’s state legislature. Kansas is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Smetana:   

  • “Support immediate tax cuts with reasonable and actionable solutions to aid our farmers, small business owners, and families; while stimulating and attracting business growth and expansion.”
  • “Support FULL funding for general & special education, with emphasis on FULL support for our educators, staffing, and retention”
  • “Increase access to healthcare in rural and local communities, support the implementing of programs like Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE); FULLY support expansion of Medicaid.”

Bloom:       

  • “Kansas agriculture is better represented.”
  • “Public officials should be held to the same standard as the everyday people of Kansas.”
  • “Cutting burdensome regulations and lowering taxes.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



Kansas Amendment 2 would require most county sheriffs to be elected

On Nov. 8, Kansas voters will decide on a ballot measure, Amendment 2, to require the election of county sheriffs in counties that had not abolished the office as of January 2022 and provide that sheriffs may be recalled from office or removed by a writ of quo warranto initiated by the attorney general. Currently, only one county, Riley County, of the state’s 105 counties does not have a sheriff. Amendment 2 would provide that the other 104 counties cannot eliminate their elected sheriff’s office.

Under current state law, voters can also recall a sheriff by submitting a petition containing valid signatures equal to at least 40% of the voters who voted in the last sheriff election.

The amendment has received support from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), Kansas Sheriffs Association, and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. Attorney General Schmidt said, “The office of sheriff has deep historical roots, and the longstanding practice of election rather than appointment makes sheriffs uniquely accountable to the people. I commend the large bipartisan majorities in the Legislature for giving Kansas voters the opportunity to enshrine the elected office of sheriff in our state constitution, and I look forward to supporting and campaigning for this amendment this fall.”

The amendment is opposed by State Representatives Sydney Carlin (D), Mike Dodson (R), and Dennis Highberger (D), as well as Kurt Moldrup, the interim director of the Riley County Police Department. State Rep. Michael Dodson (R) said, “If a county wishes to have a sheriff, that’s a great choice. Likewise, if a county wishes to consolidate, they should be able to do that.”

Kansas voters will also be deciding on another constitutional amendment on Nov. 8 to authorize the state legislature to revoke or suspend an executive agency’s rules and regulations by a simple majority vote.

From 1995 through 2022, the state legislature referred 11 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved eight and rejected three of the referred amendments.



All candidates for Kansas House of Representatives District 86 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kansas House of Representatives District 86 — Silas Miller (D) and Rick Lindsey (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Kansas’s state legislature. Kansas is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Miller:       

  • “Silas is determined to reduce the tax burden on working-class families and help create an economy that benefits everyone by raising wages, better housing opportunities, and supporting job training and workforce development.”
  • “Silas will work toward solutions for the education system in Kansas. We need to pay teachers more, and restore their due-process rights.”
  • “Silas will fight for environmental protection and reducing human-influenced climate change.”

Lindsey:                   

  • “Economics – we must make Kansas as affordable as possible in these inflationary times.”
  • “Education – At the top of my priorities is ensuring students get the same quality education regardless of physical address.”
  • “Fund essential services – Make sure healthcare options are available for all without relying on Feds. for delivery of services. Control costs where possible!”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2022



Three candidates running for Kansas state treasurer on Nov. 8

Incumbent Lynn Rogers (D), Steven C. Johnson (R), and Steve Roberts (L) are running for Kansas treasurer on Nov. 8, 2022. Rogers and Johnson have led in fundraising and media attention.

Gov. Laura Kelly (D) appointed Rogers Kansas treasurer in 2020, and he assumed office in Jan. 2021. He was the lieutenant governor of Kansas from 2019 to 2021 and represented Kansas State Senate District 25 from 2016 to 2019. Rogers’ career experience includes working as an agriculture banker. Rogers described himself as “a commonsense leader who has a passion for education and improving the lives of average Kansas families” and said he had “a proven track record of working to solve problems for Kansans by finding bipartisan solutions.” Rogers emphasized his experience managing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS), saying, “We put $1.8 million back to our beneficiaries and we want to make sure that we continue to do that.”

Johnson has represented Kansas House of Representatives District 108 since 2010. His professional experience includes working for Ameriprise, a financial services firm, and agricultural nonprofits the K-State Foundation and the Kansas 4-H Foundation. On Johnson’s campaign website, he emphasized government efficiency, saying, “I’m always looking for ways to increase efficiency and eliminate waste. As Treasurer I’ll look out for taxpayers and work hard to stop wasteful government spending.” Johnson also said “eliminating woke ESG investment strategies” was one of his top priorities because “ESG funds only invest in companies based on their environmental and corporate policies, making returns on investment a secondary concern.”

In the 2018 election, Jacob LaTurner (R) defeated Marci Francisco (D) 57.7%-42.3%. LaTurner left office after being elected to represent Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District in 2020. Before Rogers, the last Democratic state treasurer in Kansas was Dennis McKinney (D), who served from 2009-2011.

According to the official website, the treasurer “ensures safe and efficient operation of state government through effective banking, investment, and cash management. In short, the State Treasurer is the Chief Banker of the State.” The treasurer is also a board trustee of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, a member of the Pooled Money Investment Board, and a member of the Committee on Surety Bonds and Insurance.



Sharice Davids (D), Amanda Adkins (R), and Steve Hohe (L) are running in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District

Incumbent Sharice Davids (D), Amanda Adkins (R), and Steve Hohe (L) are running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.

This race is a rematch of the 2020 general election, when Davids defeated Adkins 53.6% to 43.6%. Hohe also ran that year and received 2.8% of the vote. Davids was first elected in 2018, when she defeated then-incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) 53.6% to 43.9%. Yoder had been in office since 2011.

The Kansas City Star’s Daniel Desrochers said, “After Adkins lost to Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids by 10 percentage points in 2020, the Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the district. … [It] went from one Democrats won in the presidential race in both 2016 and 2020 to boundaries that former President Donald Trump would have won in 2016 and President Joe Biden would have narrowly flipped four years later.”

The Cook Political Report’s PVI (Partisan Voting Index) for the old district was D+2, while the score for the redrawn district is R+1. President Joe Biden (D) would have carried the redrawn district in 2020 with 51.2% of the vote to former President Donald Trump’s (R) 46.7%, while Trump would have carried it in 2018 with 48.2% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 42.9%.

Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, worked as a lawyer and non-profit executive serving Native American communities before coming into office. Davids was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, alongside former Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and was the first openly lesbian Native American elected to Congress.

Adkins is a former congressional staffer who served as chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party from 2009 to 2013. Adkins also served on the executive committee of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and was a vice-president at the Cerner Corporation for 11 years.

Davids has focused on economic issues and said her willingness to work with Republicans on bipartisan legislation would help bring manufacturing jobs to Kansans. “I worked with both parties to boost manufacturing right here in America,” Davids said. “From health care to infrastructure to agriculture, I’ll work with anyone, regardless of party, to do what’s best for Kansas.” Davids has also highlighted her support for abortion rights. “My position is clear: I believe people have a right to make their own health care decisions, not the government, and I have stood up against extreme politicians who want to take away that right,” Davids said.

Adkins said Davids’s voting record is too aligned with the Biden administration and does not reflect the will of Davids’s constituents. Adkins also said the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a measure Davids voted for, was responsible for the increase in inflation in 2022. Adkins said, “Paying more for goods and services? Thank Sharice Davids, who voted for the $1.9 trillion spending bill that has fueled inflation to a 40-year high.” Adkins has also focused on immigration and said she supports building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 districts in the House are up for election. As of September 2, 2022, Democrats hold a 219-211 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant districts. Republicans need to gain a net of seven districts to win a majority in the chamber.



Four candidates running for governor of Kansas

Incumbent Laura Kelly (D), Derek Schmidt (R), Seth Cordell (L), and Dennis Pyle (Independent) are running in the general election for governor of Kansas on Nov. 8, 2022.

This is the only governorship Democrats are defending in 2022 in a state that Donald Trump (R) won in 2020. Major independent observers rate the election as a toss-up.

Kelly was first elected in 2018, defeating Republican Kris Kobach by a margin of five percentage points. Kobach defeated then-incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) in the Republican primary by 343 votes, or one-tenth of a percentage point. At the time Kelly was elected, Republicans had held trifecta control of Kansas state government for eight years, preceded by eight years of divided government. Democrats have not had a majority in either chamber of the Kansas State Legislature since 1992.

Schmidt was elected Kansas attorney general in 2010 and re-elected twice.

According to The Kansas City Star‘s Jonathan Shorman and Katie Bernard, the last time a Democratic governor was elected while a Democratic president was in office was in 1978, and the last time a Democratic governor won re-election under a Democratic president was in 1968. Shorman and Bernard wrote, “Throughout modern Kansas history, Republicans and Democrats have regularly traded control of the governor’s office. But another rule that has also held firm over the past 50 years is that incumbent governors don’t win reelection when their party also holds the presidency.”

On July 26, 2022, the Topeka Capital-Journal‘s Andrew Bahl wrote that the election was “shaping up to be the most expensive in state history,” with Kelly and Schmidt having spent a combined $3.7 million at that time. According to Shorman and Bernard, Kelly and Schmidt have been “running a general election-style race since September 2021,” and “[b]oth Republicans and Democrats have centered the race about Kelly’s record.”

In Kansas, the lieutenant governor is elected on a joint ticket with the governor. Kelly’s running mate is incumbent Lt. Gov. David Toland (D), Schmidt’s running mate is Katie Sawyer (R), Cordell’s running mate is Evan Laudick-Gains (L), and Pyle’s running mate is Kathleen Garrison (Independent).

This election is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors. The office of governor is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states.



Kobach wins Republican primary for Kansas attorney general

Kris Kobach defeated Tony Mattivi and Kellie Warren in the August 2, 2022, Republican primary for Kansas attorney general. The seat is open because incumbent Derek Schmidt (R) ran for governor.

Kobach served as the Kansas secretary of state from 2011 to 2019. Kobach ran unsuccessfully for Kansas governor in 2018, losing to Laura Kelly (D) in the general election. Kobach campaigned on creating a litigation team that would sue the Biden administration for what he describes as violating federal law. Kobach pointed to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) lawsuits against the federal government as a model for Kansas: “My objective is for Kansas to stand side by side with Texas so that more lawsuits can be brought and people will see that there are two states leading the charge against the Biden administration.” In addition to creating a litigation team within the attorney general’s office, Kobach’s campaign website listed prosecuting voter fraud, restoring pro-life laws, removing fees on conceal carry licenses, and cracking down on scams as his top issues.

Mattivi is a retired U.S. assistant attorney. Mattivi ran on his experience as a prosecutor, saying voters should choose him because “you’ll have a choice and it’s a choice between the career prosecutor or the career politician. And I hope you agree with me that our chief law enforcement official ought to be a law enforcement official.” Mattivi said his focus as attorney general would be fighting crime: “I’m not going to sit in my office thinking about creative ways to sue the federal government because there are other things that are more important to our state like keeping us safe.” He listed fighting government overreach, backing law enforcement, protecting the Constitution, and enforcing the law as his top issues.

Warren is a member of the Kansas Senate, a position to which she was first elected in 2020. In 2018, she was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. Warren said voters should choose her because of her experience in the legislature: “With me, you have the record you can depend on of a battle-tested conservative who fights and wins. I win tough elections. I win policy battles that you care about. And I win in the courtroom as well. That’s what we need in our next attorney general.” Warren said she has a track record of defeating Democrats in elections, and has referenced Kobach’s loss to Gov. Kelly (D) in 2018 as a warning to voters: “Losing elections has consequences. We are paying a high price in Kansas for having lost in 2018. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.” Warren listed defending the Constitution, protecting the Second Amendment, and limiting government overreach as top issues.

Kobach, Mattivi, and Warren expressed support for the Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the ballot on August 2, 2022. Kansans rejected the amendment 58.78% to 41.22%. The measure would have amended the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.



Kansans reject amendment to provide that the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion

Kansans rejected an amendment to provide that the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion on August 2. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 58.78% ‘No’ to 41.22% ‘Yes’.

Based on unofficial results, 908,745 people voted on the constitutional amendment compared to 727,360 in the gubernatorial primaries and 718,545 in the U.S. Senate primaries. Turnout on the amendment exceeded overall turnout at the 2018 (457,598) and 2020 (636,032) state primaries.

Democratic voter turnout, relative to total turnout, for the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries were also at their highest since at least 2014.

  • Of those who voted in the gubernatorial primaries, 38% voted in the Democratic primary compared to 33% in 2018 and 20% in 2014.
  • Of those who voted in the U.S. Senate primaries, 35% voted in the Democratic primary compared to 32% in 2018, 24% in 2016, and 20% in 2014.

Kansas is the seventh state to vote on an amendment addressing constitutional interpretation and abortion. These types of amendments are designed to address previous or future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws. In Kansas, for example, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Bill of Rights provided a state constitutional right to abortion in 2019.

Since 2014, voters in four states – Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia – have approved such amendments. The last state to reject one was Florida in 2012. The next state to vote on this type of amendment is Kentucky on November 8, 2022. 

In Kansas, the Value Them Both PAC led the campaign in support of the amendment. Supporters included U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R) and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R). The campaign received $6.03 million through July 18, including $2.95 million from the Archdiocese of Kansas City.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom led the campaign in opposition to the amendment. Opponents included Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-3). The campaign received $7.35 million through July 18, including $1.39 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

The constitutional amendment was the first abortion-related ballot measure to be decided following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. Both campaigns issued statements placing the amendment within the context of that decision. Value Them Both said, “The U.S. Supreme Court restored the people’s ability to come to individual consensus on abortion limits — but not in Kansas. As it stands today, unelected judges in Kansas are the ones who will decide the fate of abortion limits.” Kansans for Constitutional Freedom said, “The Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. On August 2, Kansas will be the first state in the nation to vote on reproductive freedom following this decision.”

In November, voters will decide on four more abortion-related ballot measures. Beside the constitutional amendment in Kentucky, measures will be on the ballot in California, Montana, and Vermont. Voters in California and Vermont will be the first to decide ballot measures to establish state constitutional rights to abortion. Michigan, where signatures are being verified for an initiated constitutional amendment, could join California and Vermont as well. In Montana, voters will decide a measure to provide that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons and must receive medical care after an attempted abortion, induced labor, cesarean section, or other method. A campaign in Colorado is collecting signatures for an initiative to prohibit abortion in the state.

Additional reading:

2022 abortion-related ballot measures

History of abortion ballot measures