elections

Most of the focus so far this election season in Kansas has been on the competitive primaries for gubernatorial and congressional nominations. But races for the state House could prove just as consequential.

Across the state, conservatives are challenging moderate Republicans and Democrats in a coordinated effort to reclaim legislative seats they lost in 2016.

Now it starts to get real. Tuesday’s primary, and the early voting that wraps up at noon on Monday, could begin to clarify what direction Kansas politics will head after the Sam Brownback era. To the right, to the left or anchored in the middle.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

One of the nation's most vocal promoters of unsubstantiated voter fraud claims hopes to eliminate his own party's sitting governor in Tuesday's primary.

Ascha Lee / KMUW

The Sedgwick County election office was finalizing details ahead of the primary on Friday, holding a public demonstration of voting equipment to show that each of the more than 600 different variations of ballots will be tallied correctly on Tuesday.

A malicious virus first infected some local government computers in Finney County, Kansas, in late June. Officials there say that malware did not reach any election systems. But Vice President Mike Pence suggested otherwise this week at the National Cybersecurity Summit.

LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW

Voters will elect three Sedgwick County commissioners this year to represent the 1st, 4th and 5th Districts. The 4th District is the only one with a primary next week.

In the Democratic race, two candidates are hoping to bring diversity to the county commission.  

Truth, it’s said, is the first casualty of war. That helps explain why combat metaphors so often get applied to political campaigns.

The battlefield of the Kansas governor’s race bears out the maxim. Even when candidates get their facts right — a surprisingly difficult task for the field — their words tend to twist a broader truth.

LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW/File photo

Voters will elect three Sedgwick County commissioners this year to represent the 1st, 4th and 5th Districts. The 4th District is the only one with a primary next week.

In the Republican race, a political newcomer is trying to unseat an incumbent.  

Hugh Nicks is a retired businessman from Maize. He worked as a teacher, financial advisor, business owner and marketing executive. He also coached high school sports and served on the boards of several civic organizations.

Ascha Lee of KMUW/Courtesy photo

In May, just a few days before the primary filing deadline, there came news that Republican Congressman Ron Estes had an unexpected primary challenger: Ron Estes.

"I don't think the current Congress is doing their job," said Ron M. Estes, a Wichita engineer. "They're not representing the people very well in their constituency.

"So given the opportunity, yeah, I threw my name in the hat and I'm running to beat Ron Estes.”

Last spring, just minutes after learning he had lost the special election for the 4th Congressional District seat to Ron Estes, James Thompson announced he was running again.

"I announced the night that I lost that I was running in 2018 because I saw a fire that was ignited here that we needed to continue pushing," Thompson says. "There was never a question in my mind."

The civil rights lawyer has spent the past year and a half in campaign mode, largely with the same team of supporters that was behind him last year. He says a major difference in this election is time.

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