Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Races to Watch: District Attorney and State Senate

It’s a blockbuster election year, not only on the national level but on the local level as well. Here in Kansas, only one thing is certain: Sen. Pat Roberts will be re-elected handily. Dennis Moore is in the fight of his life to hold on to the KS 3rd congressional district after revelations of his involvement in the financial mess, and the 2nd District race between Jenkins and Boyda is a tossup—with the edge going to Jenkins.

Here, just like in 2006, we will profile Johnson County’s hot races—the races that will be the closest and can go either way.

District Attorney: This ho-hum race lacks passion and excitement, but Republican turncoat-turned Democrat Rick Guinn is flush with money, endorsements, and has TV ads up. Howe has less money, but has the GOP united behind his candidacy. Despite Guinn’s financial advantage, this race leans Republican, due to the county’s GOP leanings, and the fact that Howe is not Kline—and has all Republicans supporting his candidacy.

State Senate:

1. 8th District—Tim Owens vs. Judy Macy
This central Overland Park-based senate district, formerly held by Barbara Allen, went for Bush in 2004 55 to 45 percent. Macy is a former legislator and has some name ID, but she’s been removed from politics many years, and does not enjoy the same level of recognition and experience as Owens, a former Army officer, OP city councilman, and current state representative. Owens has the distinct advantage in this race, but the vote margin will be modest, not large, and Macy has the ability to ensure a competitive race right through election day. In the end, Owens should definitely come out the winner—just not by a landslide, most likely a margin in the high single digits.

2. 10th District—Mary Pilcher Cook vs. Pete Roman
Sen. Nick Jordan vacated this seat to run for congress against Dennis Moore. Cook stunned her critics when she won her primary against State Board of Education member Sue Gamble by 14 points—a much larger margin of victory than expected. The 10th district takes in most of eastern Shawnee, Lake Quivira, and a portion of northeastern Lenexa, making it much less reliably conservative than Cook’s former house district. Although Cook is much more conservative than Jordan, who united the party and retained the seat for a decade, she still has the advantage in this Republican-leaning district, against Pete Roman, a perennial Democratic candidate who has run for this seat many times. Still, this will be a fight—the KS Democratic Party is pouring money into this race to aid Roman, and amount of mailers and calls ensures this will be one of the most watched races this cycle. Cook as shown that she is a prolific fundraiser though, and should pull out a win in the low to mid single digits.

1. 9th District—Julia Lynn vs. Ron Wimmer
This reliably conservative district takes in portions of southwest Lenexa and a broad swath of Olathe. Normally not in play, Olathe Superintendent Ron Wimmer’s decision to run as a Democrat puts this race at the top of the list. Wimmer, a former Republican, is no liberal, and his experience in education and moderate stances will garner attention from many voters, as evidenced by some of his supporters, including JoCo movers and shakers such as Ben Craig and Bank of Blue Valley president Bob Regnier. However, even though she took Kay O’Connor’s place, Julia Lynn is not a polarizing figure, yet she is a stalwart conservative who is known for impeccable constituent services and keeping open lines of communication with her district. She is in the fight of her life, and really, this race could go either way, but Lynn’s very likable, and her ability to lock up her base early, work across the aisle, and vote her district (even at odds against her own base at times) will work to her advantage, so we predict she will squeak out a 3-5 point win. This will be the closest state senate race in the county.


ScottSolo said...


Good piece.

I appreciate your analysis.

Let's hope your predictions are correct.


ScottSolo said...


How about a post on Obama's "I want to spread the wealth." statement.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it but Lynn is toast.

ScottSolo said...

Looks like Lynn is going to be the toast of the 2nd congressional district.