Four years ago, back in November 2018, two Democrats were elected in Kansas. Sharice Davids was elected to represent my district, ousting Kevin Yoder. And Laura Kelly was elected Governor, flipping the seat after being in Republican hands for two terms. Around that time, I said this in a comment on YouTube on a video by Canadian games journalist and commentator Liana Kerzner:
I really wish people would stop acting like a Democrat winning in Kansas is an earth-shaking event. I’m in the House district in Kansas that flipped. It is not anything to write home about. It’s a rather centrist district, encompassing much of the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro, and if Kevin Yoder wasn’t being a tremendous dick on the campaign trail, he probably would’ve won. But given some of the sh** he said about Sharice Davids…
Same with the governor’s mansion. Sam Brownback’s predecessor was a Democrat: Kathleen Sebelius, who famously joined the Obama administration, so another Democrat, Mark Parkinson, was chosen to replace her. We’ve actually alternated between Democrat and Republican as the Governor since… looking at Wikipedia… 1966 when Robert Docking was elected to replace William Avery. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Governors_of_Kansas] As in, literally just straight alternating. If the incumbent Governor isn’t re-elected, the candidate for the opposing party is elected instead. Kansas isn’t as red a State as many like to make it out to be.
And 2022 was pretty much a repeat of that.
August presented Kansans with a choice on whether we were going to grant the Kansas legislature the power to ban abortion in the State. And by a near 60/40 margin, Kansas overwhelmingly rejected that amendment to our Constitution. Queue the celebration from Democrats.
But was Kansas going blue? As we saw on November 8, that answer is an overwhelming No.
Laura Kelly is the incumbent governor, and she’s a Democrat. Our Attorney General was running against her this year and lost by under 18,000 votes. Under our Constitution, she can only be elected twice in a row. So since she won re-election, she’s out in 2026 regardless. And if prior pattern continues, a Republican will be elected to replace her.
Sharice Davids (KS-3) is the incumbent member of the House of Representatives for my district. She’s a Democrat as well, and won by a slightly greater margin than 2020, defeating Amanda Adkins both times.
Both of our Senators are Republicans, though. And Jerry Moran was the one up for re-election this year. And he won. By a near 60/40 margin. His challenger, Mark Holland, won in only 3 counties in the State: Wyandotte, Douglass, and Johnson. And he barely won Johnson County, too. Which shows that the Kansas side of the KC metro isn’t solid blue either.
The other three Republican members of the House of Representatives also won re-election: Tracy Mann (KS-1), Jake LaTurner (KS-2), and Ron Estes (KS-4). And all of them by larger margins than Sharice Davids.
Which is interesting when you look at the Estes and LaTurner’s wins since their districts include Wichita and Topeka, respectively. Both helped re-elect Laura Kelly. So those counties – Sedgwick (Wichita) and Shawnee (Topeka) – went blue for the Governor (Shawnee more so than Sedgwick) but red for the House and Senate.
So despite an overwhelming rejection of the Kansas abortion amendment in August, voters otherwise re-elected our existing slate of incumbents. A mix of Democrats and Republicans. So while people thought Kansas was going blue, we proved on November 8 that we’re still a fairly purple State.