Kansas Elections 2018 | KCUR

Kansas Elections 2018

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The Interstate Crosscheck system, a controversial voter registration tracking program championed by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was labeled effectively “dead” after a legal agreement was announced Tuesday.  

As part of the settlement in a lawsuit brought last year by the ACLU of Kansas, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab agreed to complete a series of information safeguards and issue an “acknowledgement of error.”

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas The road to democracy is paved in donuts.

At least that’s the case if you dropped by Washburn University’s Memorial Union for lunch on a recent afternoon, followed the “free donuts” sign and blaring rock music down to the lower level, where there were not just boxes of glazed temptation, but smiling faces holding out electronic tablets.

File photo / Kansas News Service

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and independent Greg Orman both funded much of their losing races for governor of Kansas through self-financing, campaign finance reports filed Thursday show.

Orman spent $1.28 million of his own cash on his campaign and raised about another $1 million from donors.  He also spent several thousand dollars on in-kind contributions, including software and staff lunches.

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Rather than just publishing a list of our most-read stories this year at KCUR.org, we've decided to make some observations about what a few of our most popular stories tell us about the communities we cover.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

With the election of Democrat Laura Kelly as governor, it appears Kansas is trending back to the center. But voters sent a mixed message as conservatives regained control of the Legislature. 

To cap off this season My Fellow Kansans, the incoming governor sat down with Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service and took questions from a live audience at Washburn University in Topeka. 

As Kelly prepares to take over the reins of state government, she said she's found the problems to be worse than she thought. But the governor-elect, a veteran of the state senate, is confident she'll have a "moderate majority" of Democratic and Republican lawmakers working with her on solutions. 

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Eleven Johnson County voters are challenging the eligibility of newly elected Adam T. Thomas, an Olathe Republican, to take his seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.

The voters, 10 residents of Olathe and one resident of Spring Hill, allege that Thomas, who won the 26th District seat, was not a resident of the district when he declared his candidacy or ran for the seat. If true, that would violate the Kansas Constitution.

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They say it takes one to know one. As Kansas governor-elect Laura Kelly soon will be, former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was a Democrat leading the state while Republicans controlled the Legislature. 

Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service spoke with Sebelius about the support from Republicans that helped Kelly overcome competition from Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and independent Greg Orman in the governor's race and what will make her successful in office. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Well, fellow Kansans, it’s over.

Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, running as the “fix-it” candidate on the premise that Kansas had gone off the rails, beat “full-throttle conservative” Kris Kobach in the race for governor.

Her win signaled Kansans’ desire to, if not reverse the state’s turn to the right, at least turn down the political rhetoric and focus on the basics.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Sticker shock

Kansas turned to the nonprofit group Teach For America earlier this year and cut a deal: Find a dozen teachers willing to work in the state in areas where we’re having recruitment problems, including western Kansas, and we’ll pay you $500,000-plus.

In the end, reports Nomin Ujiyediin, the group routed just three teachers, all to Kansas City, Kansas.

Lawmakers are not happy.

Gage Skidmore / cc-Flickr

As lesbian, Native American Sharice Davids unseated a four-term Kansas Congressman and state Sen. Laura Kelly chalked up a decisive win over Kris Kobach in the Kansas governor's race, one feminist hero watched the state's election results from afar. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A few days after the election, Kansas' next governor is beginning to spell out what she'll do in office. 

On Thursday, governor-elect Laura Kelly said she'd reinstate an executive order to protect LGBTQ state workers from discrimination. The order was first put in place by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2007, but that was rescinded in 2015 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly is making the transition with the help of Gov. Jeff Colyer and others.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Worse in Kansas

The foster care load in Kansas is growing faster than the rest of the country. Madeline Fox analyzed fresh national numbers on trends in children put into state custody and found that things are getting worse faster here than elsewhere.

Sharice David smiling at the camera while at KCUR
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Sharice Davids broke a lot of new ground in her win over incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District. Davids, a Democrat, will be the first openly gay Kansan, and as a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

She spoke with Steve Kraske, host of KCUR's Up To Date talk show, about her historic win and her plans for when she takes office.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Voters in the Kansas City metro did as many experts expected in the midterm elections: They came out in force.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Kansas is America

Laura Kelly is the latest Democratic governor-elect of Kansas. She portrayed her win Tuesday as a victory for bipartisanship and an eagerness for civility in the state. After all, Kris Kobach represented, in his words, “full-throttled” conservatism engaged in “intellectual combat.”

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Six months ago, very few people in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District even knew Sharice Davids’ name. Now she has made history. Davids is the first openly gay representative in Kansas history. She joins Deb Haaland from New Mexico as the first Native American women in the House.

"We have a chance to reset expectations when people look at Kansas," Davids said to a room full of cheering supporters. "I knew we could do better and we just did."

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Democrat Laura Kelly fended off perhaps the most energizing and divisive figure in Kansas politics on Tuesday to become the next governor of Kansas.

Kelly beat out self-described “full-throttled” conservative GOP nominee Kris Kobach, the secretary of state who’d forged a kinship with President Donald Trump while dabbling in anti-immigration and voter fraud crusades across the country.

Kansas Midterm Election Results 2018

Nov 6, 2018
Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

The general election in Kansas will determine who is governor, who holds the other statewide offices, the control of the Kansas House and who the state sends to the U.S. House.

The results below for contested statewide, legislative and congressional races are unofficial.  Keep checking throughout the evening and Wednesday morning for updates.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Vote Kansas

It’s the day that will launch a million Thanksgiving arguments. For now, it’s time to cancel out the vote of your brother-in-law.

Campaign spending is super high. Voter registration in Kansas is hitting records. And it's not just the governor's race that's going down to the wire. 

The Kansas News Service team looks at last-minute ads, considers candidates' closing arguments, and what voters might be excited about going into Election Day. 


A white piece of paper taped on a brick wall. There is a red arrow on the paper with the word 'Voting' inside.
Keith Ivey / Flickr-CC

Segment 1: Listeners tell us what's driving them to the polls this midterm election.

A woman in Missouri says she is voting for checks and balances on the White House. Another says she is voting for her children and the future of our planet. For some, it is their first time voting in a midterm, or voting at all. Today, we heard about the issues and candidates motivating voters to turn out in what could be record numbers.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Waiting for Godot, um, JoCo

The Kansas county with the most voters and the most money has also made its name as the state’s election night slowpoke.

Johnson County results have come in reaaaaaaally slowly in recent years.

When it happened in the last election cycle, county elections boss Ronnie Metsker blamed old machines. After the county spent big on new machines, Johnson County was again the last place to report its results in the August primary. An Omaha-based elections software company took the blame.

My Fellow Kansans: Pick A Governor, Add To History

Nov 5, 2018
Kansas News Service/FILE PHOTO

We’ve nearly arrived at a pivotal moment — the election that will determine whether Kansas continues rightward, returns to its traditional center, or starts down a new path. My Fellow Kansans, a podcast from the Kansas News Service, has been charting how we got here and what’s at stake in Tuesday’s voting. 

Nearly 30 years ago, the anti-abortion protests of the 1991 Summer of Mercy in Wichita energized conservatives and paved the way for the rise of Sam Brownback. As a U.S. senator, Brownback embodied the Christian right. But as governor, tax cuts headlined his red state agenda.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

On a recent Thursday morning, there was non-stop foot traffic at the Johnson County Election Office in Olathe. The usually barren parking lot was full, and the poll worker at the door barely had seconds to spare between greetings as he ushered people inside.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 / Senator Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

The midterm election is just a weekend away. Today, we covered the big races on both sides of the state line and some of the ballot measures Missouri voters are set to decide. In the Show-Me State, Attorney General Josh Hawley has been accused by Sen. Claire McCaskill of innapproriate use of consultants, but were the alleged misdeeds revealed too late to make a difference in the result? Meanwhile in Kansas, the contest between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and state Sen. Laura Kelly remains a virtual tie.

screengrab / ACLU

Millions of dollars have been spent on the governor's race in Kansas. Money has poured in from all over the country.

But a new player has entered the fray — the American Civil Liberties Union.

An ACLU TV spot went up on cable and broadcast this week. Titled "The Rule of Law," it starts out like any other opposition ad.

Kansas News Service/File photo

If conservative firebrand Kris Kobach would continue Kansas on its path to the right, Democrat Laura Kelly would be its pivot back to center.

After a weak start early in the campaign, polls suggest Kelly is now virtually tied with her Republican opponent in the heated race for Kansas governor.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

With days left before the Nov. 6 midterm, Vice President Mike Pence visited Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday to lend support to a host of Republicans who are running for office on either side of the state line.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Dodged an order

A federal judge shot down a plea from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas to force the opening of a second polling place in Dodge City.

There’s just too little time, the judge ruled, to open another location, print ballots, split up voters between the two locations, and tell those voters about that change without making things worse.

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