Initial returns from Nov. 3's general election peg voter turnout at 70.31% of registered Kansans having participated in the election, including an unprecedented 508,919 mail ballots distributed (up from 194,505 in 2018 and 202,138 in 2016). These results are not official as county election offices review provisional ballots (election day voters unable to produce photo ID, requested a mail ballot, or have not updated their voter registration), and mail ballots (mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 6).
For full election results, please visit the Kansas Secretary of State’s official website.
FEDERAL RACE SUMMARY
In the US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Pat Roberts, Congressman Roger Marshall, an OB/GYN, defeated State Senator and retired anesthesiologist Barbara Bollier. Polling had this race within 2-4 points at various times during the last month of the race; however, Marshall won rather easily with a +13 margin. In the “Big First” Congressional District, former Lieutenant Governor under Jeff Colyer, Tracey Mann, easily defeated Democrat Kali Barnett 72% to 28%. In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican State Treasurer Jake LaTurner defeated Democrat Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, 56% to 40%. The lone Democrat Congressional victory came in the 3rd Congressional District, where incumbent Congresswoman Sharice Davids held her seat against former Cerner executive Amanda Adkins by a 9-point margin. The 4th Congressional District was won easily by incumbent Congressman Ron Estes, as he defeated Laura Lombard 65% to 35%.
STATE RACE SUMMARY
As the rest of the country stood in limbo, awaiting the final results of our Presidential election, Kansans went to bed last night with a much clearer picture of who will be representing them in the Legislature in the coming years.
The 2020 Election was, by all metrics, an overwhelming success for Republicans. There are still a handful of races that are too close to call, which will most certainly require recounts; however, Republicans appear to have picked up at least two (possibly as many as five) seats in the House—bringing the Republican majority to between 86-89. While the Senate Republicans have held serve and appear to have maintained their 29 to 11 majority.
House Speaker Ron Ryckman withstood a well-funded challenge from Democrat Kathy Meyer. He and several other Johnson County Republican incumbents, including Sen. Rob Olson, Sen. Mike Thompson, Rep. Charlotte Esau, Rep. John Toplikar, and Rep. Megan Lynn were able to maintain their highly-contested seats by 3-4 point margins of victory.
The biggest upset came in the 19th Senate District, where 44-year incumbent and Senate Minority Leader, Anthony Hensley was knocked out by Republican challenger Rick Kloos.
And finally, a write-in campaign by incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter fell short, and it now appears the Legislature will be forced to make a decision on how to handle Representative-Elect Aaron Coleman, who has made headlines over disturbing claims of abuse, sexual extortion, and threatening to shoot a fellow student. One day after being elected, he criticized Gov. Laura Kelly and party leaders promised Thursday to try to oust him after what they saw as a threat against the governor.
So, what does this all mean for Kansas?
House Leadership is likely to remain unchanged. The leadership team of Speaker Ron Ryckman, Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, and Majority Leader Dan Hawkins will lead a caucus which, in all likelihood, will have a supermajority to pass constitutional amendments and override gubernatorial vetoes.
On the Senate side, Ty Masterson is now in position to take the reins as President of the Senate. After a rush of conservative challengers defeated more moderate incumbents during the primary election, Senate leadership is nearly a lock to remain in the hands of Conservatives. Question marks remain around who the next Vice President and Majority Leader will be. The only member to publicly announce their candidacy is Carolyn McGinn, while rumors circle that other members, including Gene Suellentrop, Molly Baumgardner, Caryn Tyson, Jeff Longbine, and Rob Olson may have interest in leadership positions.
With so many new members in the Senate, it is difficult to determine whether they will have the magic number of 27 votes for a supermajority—and that might depend on the issue—but right now it looks more likely than not that the control in Kansas politics lies within the Republican Legislature’s hands.
Leadership elections will be held on December 7th. We will send a report following those elections with the results.
Kansas went decidedly for Donald Trump. His numbers were similar to the 56.6% he received in 2016, while Biden received 5% more of the vote than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 (36%). In that election, Gary Johnson received 4.6% and Jill Stein received 1.9% of the vote in Kansas.
Encompasses all of Kansas’ 105 counties with its largest population centers in Wichita, Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Lawrence, and Topeka. The State is generally rated as R+15 and will be represented by Congressman Roger Marshall.
1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Encompasses 67 counties and parts of 2 other counties in western and central with its largest population centers in Salina, Dodge City, Emporia, Garden City, Hays, and Hutchinson. The District is generally rated as R+24 and will be represented by former Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann.
2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Encompasses 23 counties and parts of 2 other counties in eastern Kansas with its largest population centers in Topeka, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Ottawa. The District is generally rated as R+10 and will be represented by current State Treasurer Jake LaTurner.
3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Encompasses Johnson, Wyandotte, and a portion of Miami counties capturing the Kansas portion of the Kansas City Metro area. The District is generally rated as R+4 and will continue to be represented by Congresswoman Sharice Davids.
4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Encompasses 16 counties in southern Kansas with its largest population centers in Wichita, Derby, El Dorado, Winfield, Arkansas City, and Independence. The District is generally rated as R+15 and will continue to be represented by Congressman Ron Estes.
HIGHLY COMPETITIVE RACES
Among the general election races for state legislature there were a number of highly-competitive races including a potential for 3 House races that may or may not change between and when results are finalize. For your reference we have included the 15 most competitive races including one House race decided by 3 votes and another by 4 votes. County election offices may update these initial results as they review provisional ballots and continue to process mail-in ballots.
2021 FRESHMAN CLASS
For your convenience we have separated out those elected legislative districts that will be represented by a new elected official. In total, the “2021 Freshman Class” is expected to include 27 members of the House and 14 members of the Senate.