Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Statewide races feature Republicans-turned-Democrats

June 15, 2006

With several candidates with local ties in the most prominent political races for office this election year, Basehor voters will have some interesting choices to make in August and November.

The filing deadline for offices up for a vote in November passed Monday, leaving a large number of candidates filed for two of the highest offices up for vote. With multiple candidates for one party in several races, voters will have many reasons to go to the polls for the Aug. 1 primary.

One race that won't require a primary will be that for the attorney general's office, a race that promises to produce some interesting debates.

Former Republican and current Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison announced last year that he would run for the office as a Democrat.

Morrison said he would focus on the safety of Kansas residents and wouldn't waste time on a personal political agenda.

"As a career prosecutor, I have successfully prosecuted serial killers, murderers, rapists, sexual predators and drug-dealers," Morrison said. "As attorney general, I will continue to do everything in my power to protect Kansas families and keep our neighborhoods safe."

Kline said he would continue to enhance public policies, expand investigations, prevent health care fraud, support the state death penalty, cut down white-collar crime and enforce stricter laws on those who harm children.

"Kansans are safer now than they were four years ago because I made promises and I kept those promises," Kline said. "... I feel that with another four years, if people would honor me with that, we could build on the progress we made in the last four years."

In the November general election, voters will consider re-electing Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and her new running mate -- who is a Republican convert -- Mark Parkinson, who is the former owner of the Sweet Life senior living facilities in Shawnee and was the 2004 board chair for the Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce.

But before voters in the general election decide on Sebelius and Parkinson, they'll have to pare down six of seven Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. Those running include Jim Barnett and Susan Wagle, Emporia; Ken Canfield and Kathe Decker, Overland Park; Rex Crowell and Brian Shepherd, Longton; Dennis Hawver and Bret Landrith, Ozawakie; Robin Jennison and Dennis Wilson, Healy; Timothy Pickell and Jeffrey McCalmon, Westwood; and Richard Rodewald and Helen Kanzig, Eudora.

In other state races, Republican incumbent Ron Thornburgh will face fellow GOP member Kay O'Connor, a current state senator in Olathe, in a primary for secretary of state. There will also be a Democratic primary in the race between Robert Beattie of Wichita and David Haley of Kansas City, Kan.

In the race for state treasurer, Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins will face Democrat Larry Wilson of Topeka. The Republican primary election on Aug. 1 will decide between commissioner of insurance incumbent Sandy Praeger and Eric Carter of Overland Park, and the winner will face Democrat Bonnie Sharp of Kansas City, Kan.

In the race for U.S. House of Representatives District 2 seat, incumbent Congressman Jim Ryun, a rural Lawrence Republican, will face opposition in the Nov. 7 general election from Nancy Boyda, a Topeka Democrat.

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