2012 elections review: Kansas voters oust incumbents

Aug 8 2012

By Ballotpedia’s Congressional and State legislative teams

The primary season continued with elections in Kansas yesterday. Voters made their presence known in legislative primaries, knocking off 18 incumbents — the most of any state that has held primaries so far. That brings this year’s running total to 134 legislative incumbents who have lost a primary.

Here’s what happened in Kansas yesterday, where elections were held for U.S. House, State House, and State Senate.

Contested Primaries in Kansas — August 7, 2012
U.S. House
(4 seats)
State Legislature
(165 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 2 (50%) 16 (9.70%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 0 (0%) 83 (50.30%)


United States House of Representatives elections in Kansas, 2012

Heading into the election, the Republican Party held all four of the Congressional seats from Kansas.

Kansas had a total of 4 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 9 candidates filed to run, made up of 5 Democratic challengers, 0 Republican challengers, and 4 incumbents. Including states with primaries yesterday, a total of 353 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 57.79% of possible primaries have been contested. Kansas‘s contested figure of 25% (2 out of 8 possible party primaries) is less competitive than the national average.

All four of Kansas’ incumbents ran unopposed in their primaries yesterday. Tim Huelskamp is running unopposed for re-election in both the Republican primary and the general election, as no general election competition filed to run against him in the 1st district. Incumbent Kevin Yoder ran unopposed in the 3rd district, but will face competition from Libertarian candidate Joel Balam in the general election. Incumbent Lynn Jenkins ran unopposed in the 2nd district Republican primary, and Mike Pompeo ran unopposed in the Republican primary in the 4th district.

There were no contested Republican primaries, because all four incumbents ran on the Republican ticket unopposed.

The only two Democratic primaries that were contested were also the only two districts with any Democratic candidates running. In the 2nd district, candidates Scott Barnhart, Tobias Schlingensiepen, and Robert V. Eye ran for the nomination. Tobias Schlingensiepen won the the nomination and will face incumbent Lynn Jenkins (R) and Libertarian candidate Dennis Hawver in the general election. Candidates Esau A. Freeman and Robert Leon Tillman ran against each other for the nomination in the 4th district.[1] Robert Leon Tillman will face incumbent Mike Pompeo (R) and Libertarian candidate Thomas Jefferson in the general election.

Thomas Jefferson, formerly known as Jack Talbert, is a Libertarian candidate who officially changed his name on July 23, 2012 as part of what he refers to as the Thomas Jefferson Project.[2][3][4] Jefferson will run in the general election against incumbent Mike Pompeo (R) and Robert Leon Tillman (D)

Members of the U.S. House from Kansas — Partisan Breakdown
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 0 Pending
Republican Party 4 Pending
Total 4 4

State legislature

Kansas State Senate elections, 2012 and Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 165 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 — 40 Senate seats and 125 House seats.

There were 16 (9.70%) contested Democratic primaries and 83 (50.30%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there were 99 (30.0%) races last night with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 30.00% figure of total contested primaries in Kansas is higher than the current national contested average of 19.38%.

The main reason for the high number of contested Republican primaries had to do with a divided GOP – conservative members of the party, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, stand on one side, while more moderate Republicans, backed by former Gov. Bill Graves (R), are on the other. Thus, the primary election was the main event in many of these districts as the general election will be a mere formality. It was not a question which party would control the legislative chambers, but which faction of the Republican Party.[5]

As results began to roll in, it became clear that the chambers would be moving to the right as the conservative candidates began to defeat moderates in race after race.[6]


A total of 9 incumbent senators – all Republicans – were defeated in their bids for re-election. Eight had been targeted by conservatives for being too moderate.

Republican Party District 8: Tim Owens first assumed office in 2009. He was defeated by Jim Denning.
Republican Party District 13: Bob Marshall first assumed office in 2009. He was defeated by Jacob LaTurner.
Republican Party District 15: One of many incumbent v. incumbent battles, District 15 incumbent Jeff King defeated District 14 incumbent Dwayne Umbarger.
Republican Party District 22: Roger Reitz first assumed office in 2005. He came in a distant second in a three-way race, losing to Bob Reader, with Joe Knopp coming in third.
Republican Party District 24: Pete Brungardt first assumed office in 2001. He lost to current House District 69 incumbent Tom Arpke.
Republican Party District 25: Jean Schodorf first assumed office in 2001. She lost to Michael O’Donnell.
Republican Party District 26: Dick Kelsey was the only incumbent conservative Republican to be defeated. first assumed office in 2009. He lost to current House District 93 incumbent Dan Kerschen.
Republican Party District 33: Ruth Teichman first assumed office in 2001. She was defeated by current House District 114 incumbent Mitch Holmes.
Republican Party District 39: Stephen Morris first assumed office in 1993. He was defeated by current House District 117 incumbent Larry Powell.


A total of 9 incumbent representatives – 8 Republicans and 1 Democrat – were defeated in their bids for re-election. Results remain pending in four races that involve incumbents.

Republican Party District 8: District 29 incumbent Sheryl Spalding first assumed office in 2007. She was defeated by Craig McPherson.
Republican Party District 9: In a three-way incumbent battle, Bill Otto and William Prescott were defeated by Peggy Mast.
Republican Party District 30: Ron Worley first assumed office in 2007. He was defeated by District 14 incumbent Lance Kinzer.
Republican Party District 59: District 10 incumbent Terri Lois Gregory first assumed office in 2011. She was defeated by Blaine Finch.
Republican Party District 61: District 50 incumbent Trent LeDoux first assumed office in 2011. He was defeated by incumbent Richard Carlson.
Democratic Party (United States) District 86: Judith Loganbill first assumed office in 2001. She was defeated by District 86 incumbent Jim Ward.
Republican Party District 120: District 121 incumbent Rick Billinger first assumed office in 2010. He was defeated by incumbent Ward Cassidy.
Republican Party District 123: While incumbent Reynaldo R. Mesa withdrew prior to the primary, his name remained on the ballot. He was defeated by John Doll.

Races involving incumbents that remain uncalled:

Republican Party District 97: Incumbent Leslie Osterman is leading Jeff Blubaugh 761-734.[7]
Democratic Party (United States) District 102: Incumbent Janice Pauls is leading Erich Bishop 417-410.[7]
Republican Party District 106: In this incumbent vs. incumbent battle, Sharon Schwartz is leading Clay Aurand 2,409-2,340.[7]
Republican Party District 125: Incumbent Carl Holmes is trailing Reid Petty 883-876.[7]
Kansas State Senate
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 8 Pending
Republican Party 32 Pending
Total 40 40
Kansas House of Representatives
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 33 Pending
Republican Party 92 Pending
Total 125 125