Salina Journal: Moran wins

August 2, 2016

TOPEKA — Republican voters in the deep red state of Kansas have given U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran their nomination in the state’s primary.

The Republican incumbent Tuesday easily defeated Della Jean “D.J.” Smith, a former Osawatomie city council member who ran against a sitting GOP senator for the second time. She ran in the 2014 Republican primary against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, finishing far behind in third place that year.

Moran, 62, garnered about 79 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s primary. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010. He previously represented the state’s 1st congressional district from 1997 to 2010.

The Plainville native and Manhattan resident will face Democrat Patrick Wiesner and Libertarian Robert Garrard in the Nov. 8 general election.

Wiesner, a Lawrence attorney defeated Monique Singh-Bey, of Kansas City, Kan., in the Democratic primary. Wiesner garnered 63 percent of the vote.

During his campaign, Wiesner cited his professional experience with federal law as a tax attorney and Army lawyer. His campaign touted as his mission “paying off the government’s debt,” saying the first step is ending Washington lobbyists’ control of the Senate.

Kansas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1932.

U.S. House races

In the 2nd District, which includes Topeka and Lawrence, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins didn’t face a primary challenge, nor did Democratic candidate Britani Potter. Jenkins and Potter will be in a race with Libertarian James Houston Bales in November.

In the 3rd District, which includes Johnson County and Wyandotte County, Kevin Yoder staved off a challenge from Greg Goode, a retired lieutenant colonel who bluntly referred to Yoder as corrupt on several occasions.

“We all know many of our politicians are bought and paid for by big multinational corporations,” Goode said last week. “The unfortunate truth: Our congressman, Kevin Yoder is the poster boy for this massive corruption.”

On the Democratic side, Jay Sidie received 42 percent of the vote to win a three-way race with Nathaniel McLaughlin (36 percent) and Reggie Marselus (22 percent). Sidie and Libertarian Steven Hohe will compete against Yoder in the general election Nov. 8.

The 3rd District race could garner national attention. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pledged to support Sidie, believing the suburban district could swing Democratic due to the unpopularity of Republicans Donald Trump and Gov. Sam Brownback.

In the 4th District, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo didn’t face a primary challenger. On the Democratic side, with 600 of 622 precincts counted, Wichita lawyer Dan Giroux was leading Robert Tillman, 52 percent to 49 percent. Pompeo and the winner, along with Libertarian Gorden Bakken, will compete in November.

Turnout in Johnson Co.

The top election official in Kansas’ most populous county says turnout in the primary election should be close to what he had expected.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker said Tuesday evening that he believes 77,000 or 78,000 voters in the county would cast ballots. The county has about 389,000 registered voters, so that would be a turnout of about 20 percent.

Kobach’s prediction

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had predicted that 24 percent of the state’s registered voters would cast ballots. He also said he thought turnout in Johnson County would be slightly lower than the statewide figure.

State elections director Bryan Caskey said the secretary of state’s office hadn’t seen anything to think its prediction was off.

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