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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Democrats, Republicans See High Turnout At Kansas Caucuses

Nadya Faulx

Thousands of Kansans participated in caucuses Saturday. Both the Democratic and Republican parties were pleased and surprised at the significant numbers.

Kerry Gooch, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, says the response at the 47 caucus sites across Kansas was larger than expected.

"We had over 40,000 Democrats come out and participate in our caucus, which was about 7,000 more than we had in 2008," he says. "So a lot of people came out to participate and we are really excited about that."

Gooch says both the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns did a great job of motivating people.

Credit Hugo Phan / KMUW
Attendees at Saturday's Republican caucus at Century II gather to hear stump speeches from candidates at the event.

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, says their numbers were boosted by candidate visits to Wichita last week--including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and front-runner Donald Trump.

"Donald Trump--people either love him or hate him, and they turned out for those two reasons," Barker says. "We got all three presidential candidates in the state on Friday and Saturday, which brought a lot of media attention to it, and it brought to people’s attention that this caucus was occurring, what it was and where and when to go."

Barker says about 73,000 Republican votes have been tabulated from Saturday. He says nearly 700 Wichita State basketball fans cast their ballots in St. Louis, where they were in town for a tournament.

Barker estimates the final number, including provisional and vote-by-mail, will add up to about 80,000 votes, up from about 30,000 in 2012.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.