Penn Unseats Capps In District 85 Republican House Primary

Aug 4, 2020

Patrick Penn easily defeated incumbent Michael Capps in the Republican primary for the District 85 seat in the Kansas House. 

Penn captured more than 76% of the vote.

"We are elated right now," Penn said after early results showed him in the lead. "This is some of the best news I’ve ever seen."

The former Army veteran was backed by the Republican Party against Capps, who is serving his first full term.

Appointed to the House in 2018, Capps refused a request by party leaders to step down after being found guilty by a state agency of child abuse. The conviction was later overturned on a technicality.

Earlier this year, The Wichita Eagle reported Capps was linked to a video targeting current Wichita mayor Brandon Whipple during Whipple's campaign against Jeff Longwell.

Penn says he was raised in foster care and holds his family close to his heart. He says they were his biggest motivation for running.

He thinks the biggest thing that contributed to his win is basic decency and integrity.

"The people understand that I’m there to not rule over them, but to be a servant for them," Penn said. "I share their values."

Penn will face Democratic candidate Marcey Gregory this November. Gregory, a former mayor of Goddard, is no stranger to politics: She twice ran for the Sedgwick County Commission, losing both times. She was unopposed in the primary.

Hafsa Quraishi is KMUW's inaugural Korva Coleman Diversity Intern. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York.