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Post-election elections to replace legislators

By   /   January 4, 2011  /   1 Comment

[Updated Jan. 20] More than a dozen members of the Kansas legislature have or will change since the Nov. 2010 general election because of resignations, appointments to state offices, and a death in one case.

In November State Senator Jeff Colyer was elected Lt. Gov, and State Senator Derek Schmidt was elected Attorney General.  Their resignations triggered replacement elections.

Gov.-Elect Sam Brownback nominated State Senator Karin Brownlee and State Rep. Pat George to serve in key cabinet positions.  Their resignations triggered replacement elections.

In several cases State Reps were elected to the Kansas Senate in these replacement elections, which triggered additional replacement elections for the House Seats.

Twelve replacement elections have already occurred, and at least one more is in the works.

These contests are summarized below in chronological order below.  This page will be updated as more post-election elections are held.

November 2010

Senate District 37, Overland Park, Nov. 22.

State Senate Elect Ray Merrick addresses convention of precinct committees on Nov. 22.

State Senator Jeff Colyer (R, Overland Park) was elected on Nov. 2 to be Lt. Governor under Kansas Gov.-Elect Sam Brownback.

After the election Colyer’s resignation left a void in the State Senate.

As the  only candidate, House Majority Leader Ray Merrick (R, Stilwell) won the nod from the convention of Republican precinct committees.

Merrick’s election to the Kansas Senate left a void for his District 27 seat in the Kansas House.


House 27th District, Overland Park, Nov. 30.

Candidates to replace Ray Merrick in State Rep District 27, Charlotte O'Hara (left), Gary Brockus (center), Evan Iliff (right), take questions from the precinct committees. O'Hara was elected.

A convention of House 27 Republican committees elected Charlotte O’Hara (R, Overland Park) over the other candidates, Gary Brockus (Overland Park), and Evan Iliff (Stilwell), who was only 20 years old.

A @KansasWatchdog tweet from Nov. 30 recorded the vote tally:  “Charlotte O’Hara elected to KS House 27. Received 22 votes; Brockus 10: Iliff 0.”

O’Hara briefly was a candidate for 3rd District Congress in early 2010.


December 2010

Senate 15th District, Yates Center, Dec. 11.

State Senator Derek Schmidt was elected on Nov. 2 to be the Kansas Attorney General starting Jan. 10.  This left a void in the Kansas Senate for District 15.

According to the Montgomery County Chronicle, four candidates sought Schmidt’s seat:  Case Lair of Neodesha, State Rep. Forrest Knox (R, Fredonia), Jim Robinson of Williamsburg, and State Rep. Jeff King (R, Independence).

The Iola Register reported two rounds of voting were needed before King had a majority of the votes.

State Rep Jeff King was elected to replace AG-elect Derek Schmidt.


House 119th District, Dodge City, Dec. 18.

Gov.-Elect Brownback nominated State Rep Pat George to be the new Kansas Secretary of Commerce leaving a void in the Kansas House when George resigned.

Brian Weber (R, Dodge City) received 17 of the 20 votes from Republican precinct committees.   Dodge City Commissioner Jim Sherer received two votes, and ESL instructor Charles Sellens received a single vote.

Weber had been the campaign manager for Congressman-Elect Tim Huelskamp.


House 121st District, Colby, Dec. 19.

State Rep. Jim Morrison died in a Denver hospital the day before Thanksgiving in November.

At a convention of precinct committees, Goodland businessman Rick Billinger was elected to replace Morrison after three rounds of balloting.  Four candidates had been nominated.  In addition to Billinger, Brian Baalman(Sheridan County), Brenda McCants (Goodland), and Dave Voss (Colby) sought the position.

Related:   Morrison remembered as respected mentor, Hays Daily News, Nov. 28, 2010.

State Senate Elect Rob Olson from Olathe. At the Senate 23 convention Olson had one vote as a precinct committeeman and voted the proxies for 10 others.

Senate 23rd District, Spring Hill, Dec. 20.

State Senator Karin Brownlee was appointed by Gov.-Elect Sam Brownback to be the new Kansas Labor Secretary.

Rob Olson, State Rep from District 26, faced Olathe City Councilman Ron Ryckman in this contest.  Olson received 51 votes to Ryckman’s 43 to be elected to the Kansas Senate.

Olson’s election to the Senate created a void to represent District 26 in the Kansas House.


Senate 38th District, Dodge City, Dec. 27, 2010.

Tim Huelskamp was elected to Congress from the First District of Kansas on Nov. 2.  After that election and Huelskamp’s resignation, a convention of Republican precinct committees was called to elect his replacement.

Three sought Huelskamp’s seat:  State Rep.-Elect Garret Love (R, Montezuma, District 115), State Rep. Melvin Neufeld (R, Ingalls, District 115), who lost to Love in the August Primary, and ESL instructor and Dodge City Vice Mayor  Charles Sellens (R, Dodge City).

According to the Dodge City Globe, Love received 108 votes, Neufeld received 38 votes, and Sellens received only 3 votes.

Love, who was elected to the Kansas House in Nov., had never been sworn in or served a day as a Kansas House member before being elected to the Kansas Senate.

From a photo caption on Love’s Facebook on Jan. 5“I was sworn in earlier today at our state capitol as your next State Senator. With your help, I’m looking forward to working on the many challenges ahead and getting our state back on track.”

January 2011

A House 115th District convention was held Jan. 7 at the Ford County Government Center in Dodge City to replace State Senator-Elect Garrett Love, who won the seat in the primary from former State Rep. Melvin Neufeld.

Ronald W Ryckman

Retired teacher Ronald W. Ryckman, Meade, won over Magistrate Judge Michael Freelove, 46 votes to 30 votes, from precinct committees in results reported late Friday by the Hutchinson News.

The convention started at 6 PM Friday.  Ryckman left Dodge City after being elected and according to his Facebook page arrived in Topeka at 1:45 AM on Saturday.  He posted this on his Facebook page:

Mary and I just made it to Topeka after the convention in Dodge tonight. Thank you all so much for the Congrats and best wishes. This is very humbling experience for Mary and I. Thank you precinct members for your support and confidence. Thank all for our prayers and many well wishes from persons all over.


A House 47th District convention was held in Oskaloosa  on Jan. 8 to replace Lee Tafanelli, (R, Ozawkie), who was appointed to be Kansas adjutant general by Gov.-elect Brownback.

Ramon Gonzalez Jr., Perry Chief of Police, was elected.  Six candidates were nominated but four were eliminated in earlier rounds of voting.  In the final round Gonzalez received 15 votes to 9 votes for Richard Malm of Valley Falls.

Related: Gonzalez to replace Tafanelli in Kansas House, Lawrence Journal-World, Jan. 8, 2011.

A House 12th District convention has held in Independence on Jan. 8 to replace State Senate-elect Jeff King (R, Independence), who had been elected to the Kansas Senate to replace Dereck Schmidt.

Jim Kelly, a USD 446 school board member,  won in the third round of balloting.  Kelly is the vice president of the Independence branch of Community National Bank.

Kelly won in a field of five candidates.

Other candidates included Tim Holloway, Independence;  Rex Crowell, former state rep. who ran for Governor in 2006;  Ben Seel, Independence Community College political science instructor; and Tony Fowler, outgoing Montgomery County commissioner.

A House 26th District convention was held in Olathe on Jan. 11 to replace State Senator Rob Olson, who was elected when Karin Brownlee was appointed the new Kansas Labor Secretary.

Bob Montgomery, New State Rep in District 26.

Bob Montgomery, an Olathe City Councilman, prevailed over two other candidates, Shenon Bone, an Olathe business owner, and former State Rep. Larry Campbell.

In the first round of balloting, Bone received 8 votes, Campbell 10, and Montgomery 15.  In the second round Montgomery received the required majority with 20 votes to 13 for Campbell.


A House 99th District convention was held on Jan. 20 in Wichita to replace Aaron Jack (R, Andover), who was appointed by Gov. Brownback to be the new Kansas Securities Commissioner.

Dennis Hedke defeated Dr. John McMaster, 16-8, in a vote of district Republican precinct committees  in a 45-minute meeting at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Wichita.  Both candidates were from Wichita.

Not Yet Scheduled

Senate 36th District.   To replace Janis Lee (D, 36), who was appointed to State Court of Tax Appeals by Gov. Mark Parkinson and confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 18.  Her resignation would trigger a convention of Democratic precinct committees from Senate District 36.

Contact: Earl F Glynn, earl@kansaswatchdog.org, KansasWatchdog.org