We are not quite one week out from an election that saw the values we hold at MainStream damaged at the national level. The reasons for the result are still being examined and discussed. But the results are clear.
The entirety of the Federal Government will be bent towards extremist policy like we have seen in Kansas the last six years. Tax cuts for the top earners, with the promise that more jobs, better pay, and higher quality of life will trickle down from there. Privatization of health care, under the belief that market forces are acceptable to manage medicine, counting human lives among acceptable losses. Education policy designed to maximize profits and not success. Criminal justice used to punish broadly, rather than to rehabilitate. The list goes on.
Here's the strange part. In Kansas, on Tuesday, we chose differently. We protected our courts, ensuring that fair and impartial justice is available to every Kansan. We chose candidates across the state who will represent their constituents, not the will of the Governor. Where MainStream got out the vote, and where MainPAC supported candidates, we finished the job started during the Primaries and ousted more of Brownback's allies. Where our proven incumbents faced attacks from the extremists, we protected those seats.
But there is still work to do in Kansas. Voter turnout was down, in Kansas as it was nationally. And while the Kansas Legislature has shifted, Governor Sam Brownback still wields a veto pen in Topeka. But even more importantly, the fiscal hole in which Kansas finds itself is so deep that it will be years before we see effective change.
The Kansas House and Governor races in 2018 loom large ahead of us. MainStream will spend the next two years laying the groundwork to defend the gains made in Kansas, and turn more seats towards moderate values.
We hope you will be there with us.
Kansas Senate +10
In the end, the Kansas Senate fell one seat short of a moderate coalition majority, drawing even with a likely 20 seats. Fourteen seats turned over, with nine brand new legislators, and five who moved over from the Kansas House. The Senate now has nine Democrats, ten or eleven moderate Republicans, and twenty solid Brownback Republicans. This is much improved from the last Senate, with a pickup of ten seats for moderate causes!
KS Senate 2015-16: 8 Dems + 2 Mod Rs = 10 mods vs 30 Extreme Rs
KS Senate 2016-17: 9 Dems + 11 Mod Rs = 20 mods vs 20 Extreme Rs
+10 seats for moderate values!
Kansas House of Representatives +28
In the Kansas House, there was a surge of new legislators, with a whopping 46 new legislators, out of 125 total. The House now has 40 Democrats, about 26 to 29 moderate Republicans, and 56 extremist Republicans. Even with some members uncertain, the Brownback loyalists will only be able to scare up 60 votes, not enough to pass legislation.
KS House 2015-16: 28 Dems + 13 Mod Rs = 41 mods vs 84 Extreme Rs
KS House 2017-18: 40 Dems + 29 Mod Rs = 69 mods vs 56 Extreme Rs
+28 seats for moderate values!
Our Ongoing Vote Count
This election was hard fought and contentious, with many driven home by the Presidential race to their preferred party. MainStream, as we have for over twenty years, continued to look at the individual before the party affiliation, and in many case drew the ire of Democrats and Republicans for our stance.
With so many brand new legislators, we do not have as much data on their positions as we would like to have. For that reason, next year, we will be updating our statewide vote count throughout the session, not just at the end of the year.