Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Kansas elections in 2014

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June 26, 2014

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2014 Kansas Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Republicans hold a supermajority in the Kansas Legislature, of which only the House is up for election this year, and an overall trifecta with Gov. Sam Brownback in office. With Republicans outnumbering Democrats roughly 2.9 to 1 in the House and only ten Republicans departing after this year, the 2014 state legislative elections in Kansas are not competitive enough to be considered a Ballotpedia battleground state. However, Ballotpedia' analysis of margin of victory in 2012 state legislative elections shows 23 districts to watch.[1]

The Republican lead in the House is 61 seats (93-32), most recently bolstered by the defection of Janice Pauls to the GOP from the Democratic Party in late May.[2] There are fifteen Republican and seven Democratic districts considered to be competitive or mildly competitive this year, based on analysis of margin of victory in the 2012 election. Thirty-three districts (including one with both parties having contests) will be contested in the state primary on August 12, 2014. But 60.8 percent of seats will pair a Republican and a Democrat in the general election on November 4, 2014.[3]

June 2 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Kansas State Senate and Kansas House of Representatives. Elections in 125 House districts will consist of a primary election on September 9, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections and Kansas House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds a supermajority in the state legislature. Kansas's office of Governor is held by Sam Brownback (R), making the state one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

The difference in partisan composition between Republicans and Democrats in the House is 61 seats, or 48.8 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 76 of the 125 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[3]

Kansas House of Representatives
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 32 27
     Republican Party 93 98
Total 125 125
2015
2013
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Margin of victory

All 125 seats in the House are up for election in 2014. Nine of those seats held competitive elections in 2012 with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Fourteen other elections were moderately competitive with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. However, one of the mildly competitive seats is now uncontested. Those districts are:

Competitive

Mildly competitive

Mildly competitive, now unopposed

  • District 2: Incumbent Adam Lusker (D) is unopposed in the primary and general elections. Lusker was appointed in January 2014; his predecessor, Robert Grant (D), won by a margin of 10 percent in 2012.

Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Kansas' 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 13 open seats (10.4%) in the one chamber up for election.
  • A total of 21 incumbents (16.8%) face a primary challenger.
  • 75 districts (60.0%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances. As with the 2014 elections, the Senate was not up for election in 2010.

Comparing Kansas Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 8.0% 42 20.0% 18 57.6% 33 28.5 34
2012 30.3% 11 41.7% 4 70.3% 19 47.4 7
2014 10.4% Pending 16.8% Pending 60.0% Pending 29.1 Pending

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Kansas House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
10.4% 16.8% 60.8% 29.3

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 102 of the 160 districts up for election in 2014, one major party candidate will run unopposed in the general election. A total of 85 Democrats and 17 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 58 of the 160 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 21 incumbents (16.8%), all Republicans, will face primary competition on August 5. Thirteen incumbents (10.4%) are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 91 incumbents (72.8%) will advance past the primary without opposition. The primary challenges include:

Incumbents retiring

A total of 13 incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Kelly Meigs Ends.png Republican House District 22
Emily Perry Electiondot.png Democratic House District 24
Lance Kinzer Ends.png Republican House District 30
Melanie Meier Electiondot.png Democratic House District 41
Paul Davis Electiondot.png Democratic House District 46
Shanti Gandhi Ends.png Republican House District 52
Richard Carlson Ends.png Republican House District 61
Vern Swanson Ends.png Republican House District 64
J. David Crum Ends.png Republican House District 77
Jim Howell Ends.png Republican House District 81
Marshall Christmann Ends.png Republican House District 113
Ward Cassidy Ends.png Republican House District 120
Reid Petty Ends.png Republican House District 125

See also

External links

References