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Kansas Political Parties Beginning Work For 2016 Election


The state political parties in Kansas are beginning to gear up for the 2016 election, but party leaders are focused on different strategies right now. Stephen Koranda reports on how they’re approaching Statehouse races.

Republicans have big majorities in the Kansas Legislature. State GOP Executive Director Clay Barker says that means they’re right now targeting areas where they’ll face a close race or could pick up a seat.

“We have to be on the defensive because we have so many seats, such a large majority. Tactically, at the ground level, we can go on the offensive in certain House districts, the ones where the vote was very close last time,” Barker says.

Democrats, being in the minority, are taking a different route. State Executive Director Kerry Gooch says they’re focusing right now on registering voters and expanding the party organization into more areas.

“So I think you’ll start seeing us in places that you’re not used to normally seeing the Democratic Party at, some of these smaller counties out there that might not have a Democratic Party or haven’t had a Democratic Party in a long time,” Gooch says.

Legislative races will really heat up after the 2016 session.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.