Kansas Democrats Assemble To Pick Delegates
Updated on 05/01/16:
Kansas Democrats held a convention in Topeka Saturday to pick the remaining delegates pledged to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But they’re more concerned about elections closer to home.
When state Rep. Jim Ward stood up to give his pitch to the committee that elected him as a Clinton delegate, he looked out at what he saw as potential candidates for the Kansas Legislature.
"I ask for your help today to be a Hillary delegate to Philadelphia," Ward says. "But more important, help me save Kansas by getting candidates to sign up to run and carry our message so we can get our state back.”
Gabriel Costilla, a 27-year-old high school teacher, has already taken the bait. He’s heeded the call to run against Republican state Sen. Ty Masterson of Andover.
“I’m gonna take Ty’s seat," Costilla says. "He doesn’t know it yet, but he might now.”
Democrats are hoping the enthusiasm for Clinton and Sanders will trickle down the ballot and get candidates like Costilla into office in Kansas.
Kansas Democrats are meeting in Topeka on Saturday to pick the rest of the delegates they’ll send to the national convention in Philadelphia this July.
Kansas elections editor Amy Jeffries caught up with a couple of delegates who are new to the process.
Rashane Hamby, a young mom from Kansas City, went to a caucus on March 5 to make sure Bernie Sanders got her vote.
“At the caucus, a Bernie Sanders representative just said, 'Hey, would you like to be a delegate?'” Hamby says.
Hamby and the other people who stuck around on caucus day picked delegates--you could call them “meta-delegates"--at conventions held in each Congressional District on April 2.
“And then I went to the convention and gave a speech,” Hamby says.
So, the meta-delegates at the Congressional District Conventions picked Hamby and 21 others to go to the National Convention.
Justin Adrian, a high school history teacher who lives in Merriam, supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, and he’s been volunteering with her campaign since October. Now he’s one of the delegates pledged to Clinton.
“I feel like it’s her time,” Adrian says.
It’s likely the remaining 11 pledged delegates from Kansas to be picked this weekend will be more tenured members of the party.
The Democrats’ state party committee, made up of elected officials and party leaders, will be making the selections.