Lucas Corbin reporter
Last Tuesday, Kansas Republicans narrowly upheld their supermajority in Topeka, losing one seat in the State House. Democrats now hold forty seats in the House; it would require forty-two votes to override their two-thirds supermajority vote.
Despite the constituency’s support of Republican legislators, Governor Laura Kelly was re-elected, beating Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kelly won the election with 1.6% of the vote. Her opponents, Derek Schmidt (R) and Tom Pyle (L) received 47.6% and 1.1% of the vote, respectively.
In her victory statement released Wednesday afternoon, Kelly restated her commitment to providing middle-of-the-road solutions for Kansans. Her first term resulted in Medicaid Expansion (in accordance with the Affordable Care Act), fully funded schools, and a balanced state budget.
Her second term will be spent reforming the criminal justice system to consider physical, sexual, and mental trauma in the sentencing process, recovering from the Coronavirus Pandemic by welcoming new businesses to the state, encouraging renewable energy, and defending abortion access. Kelly will be accompanied by Lt. Governor David Toland.
Second Congregational District Representative Jake LaTurner defeated Patrick Schmidt and secured his second term in Washington. LaTurner campaigned on inflation reduction, minimal gun regulation, and the implementation of work requirements for those receiving welfare, as well as the removal of Gov. Laura Kelly and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from public office.
In his first term, he sponsored or cosponsored nine bills that became law; most notably, he pushed a law that would provide more service animals to veterans and another that would take measures to prevent global malnutrition. He also voted to decertify the results of the 2020 election.
Senator Jerry Moran defeated Mark Holland and will begin his third term. Moran campaigned on his office’s support for law enforcement, border security, agriculture, and veterans. This year, he sponsored and co-sponsored sixty-two bills; four passed the Senate and one became law.
Pittsburg Republicans Chuck Smith and Kenneth Collins will both be returning to Topeka during the 2023-2024 legislative sessions to serve their third terms after winning their elections. Smith had a write-in challenger, Jordan Metcalf, and Collins ran unopposed.
Crawford County Commissioner Jeremy Johnson lost his reelection to Carl Wood by three hundred votes; Commissioner Bruce Blair (R) ran unopposed. Commissioner-elect Wood’s win gives Republicans a two-thirds supermajority in Crawford County’s County Commission.
After Don Pyle’s retirement at the end of 2021, the Crawford County Democratic Central Committee appointed Lisa Lusker to fill the position of County Clerk, an office which she won in the Election. She will serve a four-year term overseeing elections and recording the county’s transactions. Per state law, the State Board of Canvassers, which consists of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, will meet before Thursday, Dec. 1 to certify the results.