Here are your elections

Welcome to the election. This past Friday was the deadline to both register to run for office in 2018, and also to change your existing party affiliation. If you're not registered to vote yet (and you're reading this? Welcome!) you can still register to vote in August if you do so by July 17. You can do so at

So, what does the landscape look like? In a world where the country elected Donald Trump, there are sure to be a number of amusing anecdotes/candidates in the races. A protest candidate named Vermin Supreme registered (and paid cash) to run for Kansas Attorney General. In the 4th Congressional race, a man named Ron Estes filed to face the incumbent in the primaries. The incumbent? Ron Estes. In the Kansas House, Rep. Vic Miller (D-House 58) filed as Vic "T-Bone" Miller. Perhaps he was jealous of Rep. Dennis "Boog" Highberger (D-House 46).

You can find the whole list—still "unofficial"—at the Secretary of State's website: 2018 Candidates

We did notice a few politically interesting aspects of the filings, however, that we thought we might bring to your attention.

Grave concerns at the top

There is no question that the most important race on the ballot is the race for Governor. With a Governor friendly to moderate and progressive policies, Kansas would have expanded Medicaid, extended protections to LGBT persons, and stopped further encroachments on gun safety and women's reproductive rights.

Instead, the two lead contenders for the Republican side of the ticket (see this article on current polling) could charitably be called "Brownback 2.0" and "Worse than Brownback." Gov. Jeff Colyer, formerly Brownback's Lieutenant Governor, is casting himself as a moderate, but gladly signed to legalize state sanctioning of discrimination against LGBT families, and despite being a doctor, has repeatedly refused to expand Medicaid. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the other candidate for Governor, has called half of the electorate "snowflakes," and repeatedly stated he would immediately reinstate the Brownback tax experiment if elected.

Ultra-Cons vying to regain the advantage

With the Kansas Legislature balanced on a knife's edge between ultra-cons and the moderate+progressive block, each contended seat holds outsized importance. Retiring conservative Rep. Clay Aurand's seat is being filled by a moderate with no opponents. But retiring moderate Rep. Shelee Brim is leaving a seat she won in a close race in 2016, one that may be difficult to retain. Several moderate Republicans who vote with MainStream 80% or more are being challenged by ultra-con candidates in the primaries, many in districts that will be difficult for a Democrat to win in the general election.

This handful of races where ultra-cons are trying to regain what they lost in 2016 could have as much impact on the future of Kansas as the Governor's race. MainStream will keep you in the loop as we go forward towards the elections.

Ultra-Con "wave" more of a ripple

Those races are important, but in a year when it was widely rumored that the ultra-conservatives would mount a striking counter-punch for the losses they suffered in 2016, many of the old guard didn't step up. Former Sen. Melcher, and former Rep. Macheers, both reported to be ready to return, did not file. Rep. Powell withdrew his name at the last minute from the race for his seat in Olathe. And of the 125 seats in the Kansas House, almost 40 progressive or moderate seats are uncontested! That's more than 60% of the friendly seats in the House.

Stay informed with MainStream

We'll have more to say about the races and candidates in the near future, as we analyze vote counts, examine candidate matchups, and hear what the Kansas Supreme Court says about the school finance law. If they rule it unconstitutional they could trigger a Special Session of the Legislature before July, where important votes will be cast.

If you're concerned about the Governor's race, or about supporting moderate and progressive issues in these elections, come out to Walk the Vote this weekend to meet hundreds of other Kansans with the same concerns. Together, we can make a difference.

It starts here. With you. Do more than vote.

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