Here are best Kansas Senate candidates in Johnson County

Don McGuire, 8th District Senate candidate, spoke Sunday at a voters' forum. (Photo by Yael T. Abouhalkah)

Don McGuire, 8th District Senate candidate, spoke Sunday at a voters’ forum. (Photo by Yael T. Abouhalkah)

Let’s get right to it. Here are the best candidates for the most hotly contested Kansas Senate seats in Johnson County for the Nov. 8 election.

7th District: Barbara Bollier (Republican) over Megan England (Democrat)

8th District: Don McGuire (Democrat) over incumbent Jim Denning (Republican)

9th District: Chris Morrow (Democrat) over incumbent Julia Lynn (Republican)

10th District: Vicki Hiatt (Democrat) over incumbent Mary Pilcher-Cook (Republican)

11th District: John Skubal (Republican) over Skip Fannen (Democrat)

21st District: Dinah Sykes (Republican) over Logan Heley (Democrat) and Michael Kerner (Libertarian)

23rd District: Spencer Kerfoot (Democrat) over incumbent Rob Olson (Republican)

Why these endorsements? Read on.

Two basic issues are at the core of how Johnson Countians in both parties are voting this fall, starting with early in-person voting Oct. 24. (I saw 10 of these Senate candidates speak at a League of Women Voters forum Sunday afternoon in Johnson County.)

1. Kansans need lawmakers who will oppose bad policies put forward by Gov. Sam Brownback and, by extension, fight for good ones that include repealing some or all of Brownback’s reckless 2012 income tax cuts. The absolute top goal is to better finance public education, the cornerstone of Johnson County’s growth in population and economic development the last five decades. Other goals include expanding Medicaid and improving social service programs that are rotting under the Brownback administration.

2. Kansans need to elect people who have some solid experience — either in the Legislature or in their personal and professional lives — to show they are ready for the  rough-and-tumble world of the Kansas Legislature.

Obviously, all seven Democrats in the above races qualify under Part 1: They properly aren’t fans of Brownback. They state that early and often on the campaign trail, hoping it will be a winning strategy with voters aware of how the extremely unpopular governor has ruined the state the last six years.

McGuire, Morrow, Hiatt and Kerfoot get extra points because they are squaring off against incumbent allies of Brownback. Those pro-Brownback votes in the Legislature need to be shown the door — especially Denning. He has been a big backer of Brownback’s education policies as well as on other issues except when it’s time for his re-election. Voters shouldn’t be fooled: McGuire is by far the better choice.

None of the Democrats is an incumbent, so there’s no long political record to check.

Here’s why I endorse Republicans Bollier, Skubal and Sykes over their Democratic opponents.

All three of these GOP candidates fit both Parts 1 and 2.

Bollier — as a state representative — has not been a Brownback collaborator in the Legislature, and has a pro-education voting record.

Skubal defeated a Brownback follower (Jeff Melcher) in the Aug. 2 primary and has years of solid experience on the Overland Park City Council.

Sykes also beat a Brownback  supporter (Greg Smith) in the primary. She has children in public schools. She has been active in the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce and as a Rotary member. She has a college degree in economics and finance.

This last race — featuring Sykes vs. Heley — has received more attention in recent days because of some negative events surrounding the campaign. I plan to write a more specific blog post on it in the coming days.

Speaking of the future: “Here are best Kansas House candidates in Johnson County” is planned for publication sometime Monday evening.

25 Thoughts.

  1. Most folks assume you’ve actually interviewed the candidates to better understand their grasp of the issues.(Journalism 101) However, that’s not always the case with you, is it Yael? That said, what you’re doing is tantamount to hiring someone by just looking at what clubs they listed on their resume, when what you should be doing is having a discussion with each candidate. Because you are a journalist, people assume you’ve done that, so your “endorsements” are misleading. We can look at resumes on our own. We certainly don’t need your blog for that.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I was at the Johnson County forum where 27 candidates spoke on Sunday. Have interviewed some of them at other events. Have interviewed political activists in both parties who know them well or are helping with their campaigns. You are correct: I don’t interview all the candidates. Looking at which candidates other groups endorse is helpful if you believe in the integrity of the group. Other times, I go my own way.

  2. Jim Denning has told us that he would eliminate the LLC exemption. In a fairly recent KCStar editorial, Steve Rose appeared to believe him and supported his re-election! Confusion reigns here in the heart of this JoCo Republican! Always enjoy your opinion but I’ll probably stick with Jim! I do appreciate your continuing to give us your opinion!

    • Thanks Steve. If you look at Denning’s actual voting record, which I linked to in the article, you can tell by his actions that he has been a huge part of the problem for years. His recent words do not move me. I know Rose in a column said he likes Denning. But I’m ready for change in Topeka, which is why I heartily recommend Don McGuire over Denning.

  3. Getting rid of mary pilcher cook aka senator sonogram would be the best thing to happen to Kansas since dorothy’s house landed on the wicked witch of the west!

  4. No senator has done as much to damage Kansas as Pilcher Cook

    Tried to turn teaching sex ed into a felony
    Tried to ban surrogacy
    Only vote against school funding
    Called for miscarriages to be subject to state investigation (in case at home abortion)

    She’s a nut who harms the whole state.

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  9. I am hoping you can help clear up some confusion on my part. Why is no one talking/endorsing a candidate for the 48th district? I already voted but was curious about that.

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