BY JADEN MOUNT
With the results of last Tuesday’s primary still unofficial, no race can be 100 percent accurate. However, the victors of all but one race, the Republican Primary for governor, can generally be determined.
In Ellis County, Republicans had to make a choice between County Commissioner Marcy McClelland, the incumbent, and Robert “Butch” Schlyer, the former county health administrator, for the upcoming First District County Commissioner seat. Schlyer already had a large lead with ballots from advance voting, which continued to increase until the final, unofficial total of 635 to 282. Despite the count being unofficial, there is little doubt the outcome will change come next week.
The only race in the Republican Primary to have a single filer was for the 111th Congressional District for the Kansas House of Representatives. Ellis County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger filed for the position prior to the party deadline as a Republican. She earned 1,865 votes from party voters with 593 undervotes or no clear ballot marking.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall also faced a challenger for his position. Inman resident Nick Reinecker filed for the primary race against Marshall and advertised himself as a “Grassroots Constitutionally Conservative Republican.” The initial results from Tuesday are quite clear that Reinecker would be unable to pull off the upset, as nearly 80 percent of the vote went to the incumbent. Of Ellis County Republicans, 2,369 were cast for Marshall alone.
Because both Kris Kobach and Ken Selzer had filed for the governor race, their individual positions as secretary of state and insurance commissioner were open to the party. Five filed for the nomination for secretary of state, while the race for the state insurance commissioner position was limited to two. Great Bend’s Scott Schwab managed to lead the secretary race with 106,569 votes statewide (38 percent), 990 in Ellis County.
The insurance commissioner battle was much closer where Vicki Schmidt of Wichita won with 52 percent of the vote against former State Sen. Clark Shultz. Schmidt won Ellis County with 53 percent of county voters, but the total number is only 164 votes ahead of her opponent.
The most contested race of the Republican Primary was the nomination for this year’s governor. Undoubtedly, the race would fall between Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The lead would shift back and forth during Tuesday night until Kobach managed to pull ahead with 191 votes. However, a recent error now reveals the controversial, Trump-endorsed candidate is only 91 votes ahead. As the recount process is ongoing, the Kansas Secretary of State website states Kobach is ahead of Colyer, 127,211 votes to 127,101.
Unlike the Republican Primary for the county commissioner race, Ellis-native Democrat Chris Rorabaugh did not face a contest this past Tuesday. That does not mean, however, voters could not write in another individual or not vote at all. A total of 366 votes were cast for Rorabaugh with 100 undervotes.
The same can be said for the 111th Congressional District for the Kansas House of Representatives as well as the race for Secretary of State. Incumbent Eber Phelps was the only Democrat to file for the house position, earning 948 votes in Ellis County. Phelps held the position from 1996 to 2012, where he was defeated by Republican nominee Sue Boldra. He won the position back in 2016. Brian “Bam” McClendon was also the only Democrat to file for the Secretary of State primary. McClendon received 994 votes in Ellis County, 251 undervotes.
It is almost no question who won the Democratic Primary for Kansas governor. State Sen. Laura Kelly pulled out an outstanding upset over her competitors, gaining 79,301 votes statewide and 482 in Ellis County. Joshua Svaty, who was anticipated to win several rural counties, fell short of winning Ellis with 381 votes. The outcome is undeniably going to remain the same in the official results, with Kelly moving on to the November election. If the results stay the same, Kobach will come out of the Republican Primary as her opponent. However, previous polls have suggested that in a Kelly-Kobach race, Kelly leads the secretary by only a small margin with over 20 percent of voters undecided in the matter.
Results are likely to become official later this week, but rumors have circulated that the process may take up to two weeks for the provisional and mail ballots. Stay tuned to Tiger Media Network and KFHS Online Radio for more information as this story develops.