KSLeg 2017: The Zero Percenters

We thought we might spend some time examining the data from our 2017 vote count analysis. We'll start with the zero percenters.

These are the legislators who did not vote with MainStream on anything in 2017. They, often proudly, voted to keep raiding money from pensioners and road safety, to keep taxing food instead of wealthy business owners, to keep undercutting our public schools, or worse, sending tax money to private and religious schools, to keep the working poor one step away from health care bankruptcy, and more. Thankfully, there are many fewer of them than there were in 2016, but those that are left look like they are well entrenched.

Keep this list handy as we approach 2018. The entire Kansas House of Representatives will be up for re-election.

Kansas Senate (8, down from 21 in 2016):

  • Larry Alley, Winfield
  • Molly Baumgardner, Louisburg
  • Steve Fitzgerald, Leavenworth
  • Ty Masterson, Andover
  • Rob Olson, Olathe
  • Mary Pilcher-Cook, Shawnee
  • Dennis Pyle, Hiawatha
  • Caryn Tyson, Parker

Kansas House (19, down from 39 in 2016):

  • Francis Awerkamp, St. Marys
  • Jesse Burris, Mulvane
  • Blake Carpenter, Derby
  • Ken Corbet, Topeka
  • Keith Esau, Olathe
  • Randy Garber, Sabetha
  • Ron Highland, Wamego
  • Michael Houser, Columbus
  • Steve Huebert, Valley Center
  • Susan Humphries, Wichita
  • Trevor Jacobs, Fort Scott
  • Kevin Jones, Wellsville
  • Les Mason, McPherson
  • Randy Powell, Olathe
  • Ken Rahjes, Agra
  • John Resman, Olathe
  • Jene Vickrey, Louisburg
  • John Whitmer, Wichita
  • Kristey Williams, Augusta

But a list doesn't tell the whole story. We looked into the background on some of the numbers, and see a definite trend towards loss of power by these ultra conservatives, though the ones who are left have retrenched, and may be hard to dislodge.

Ultra conservatism is on the wane in Kansas

Of the sixty new legislators sent by voters to Topeka in 2016, only four show up on this list of zeros. Two more joined the Legislature during the 2017 session, chosen by precinct officials when the incumbents retired. And while these six seats did become even less aligned with MainStream's goals, it wasn't by much. The big picture is important, in the 2016 elections, 33 legislators with zero scores were replaced by candidates who scored higher in 2017.

  • There are 33 fewer zeros in the Legislature than there were in 2016
  • Only four zeros were elected by voters in 2016
    • Rep. Awerkamp won the seat of Rep. Hutchins (0%)
    • Rep. Humphries won the seat of Rep. Hedke (0%)
    • Rep. Jacobs won the seat of Rep. Read (0%)
    • Sen. Alley won the seat of Sen. Abrams (17%)
  • Two zeros were added during the session, replacing retiring legislators
    • Rep. Burris was selected to replace Rep. DeGraaf (13%)
    • Rep. Resman was selected to replace Rep. Kiegerl (17%)

Some got more extreme, none became more moderate

Six of the legislators on thus list weren't zeros in 2016. Their zero percent votes this year have brought their lifetime scores down. In the House, Mason, Rahjes, and Williams saw their scores drop when they refused to support public education, even though all three voted to protect college and career ready academic standards in 2016. In the Senate, Baumgardner, Pyle, and Tyson opposed the 2015 budget bill that raised sales taxes in lieu of tax reform, but refused to reform taxes this year.

And it bears noting, no legislator with a score of 0% in 2016 raised their scores in 2017. They all stuck to their guns, as it were.

  • 0% in 2017 dropped Rep. Mason from 14% to 9% lifetime
  • 0% in 2017 dropped Rep. Rahjes from 33% to 13% lifetime
  • 0% in 2017 dropped Rep. Williams from 20% to 10% lifetime
  • 0% in 2017 dropped Sen. Baumgardner from 33% to 13% lifetime
  • 0% in 2017 dropped Sen. Pyle from 33% to 18% lifetime
  • 0% in 2017 dropped Sen. Tyson from 17% to 10% lifetime

They may be hard to dislodge

In 2016, every seat in the Legislature was in play. Twenty-five of the legislators on this list had to win elections before voting the way they did in 2017 (two of them, Rep. Burris and Rep. Resman were appointed mid-session). Looking at their margins of victory in the 2016 elections gives us some insight into how secure they are in their seats. With a few notable exceptions (six races in bold below), the ultra conservatives won their races handily, even if they had a primary challenger.. (Data from KS SOS office: Primary election, General election)

  • Senate
  • Alley won by 24.5% in Winfield
  • Baumgardner won by 36.1% in Louisburg
  • Fitzgerald won by just 1.9% in Leavenworth
  • Masterson won the primary by 18.5% and the general by 29.3% in Andover
  • Olson won by 21.1% in Olathe
  • Pilcher-Cook won by just 2.7% in Shawnee
  • Pyle won by 16.7% in Hiawatha
  • Tyson won by 46.7% in Parker
  • House
  • Awerkamp won the primary by 20.3% and the general by 22.9% in St. Marys
  • Carpenter won by 33.1% in Derby
  • Corbet won by just 7.5% in Topeka
  • DeGraaf won by 23.3% in Mulvane (Rep. Burris now holds the seat)
  • Esau won the primary by just 9.7% and the general by 15.9% in Olathe
  • Garber did not have any opponents in Sabetha
  • Highland won by just 3.9% in Wamego
  • Houser did not have any opponents in Columbus
  • Huebert won by 43.7% in Valley Center
  • Humphries won the primary by 20.1% but did not have a general election opponent in Wichita
  • Jacobs won the primary by 21.4% but did not have a general election opponent in Fort Scott
  • Jones won by 18.3% in Wellsville
  • Kiegerl won by 20.1% in Olathe (Rep. Resman now holds the seat)
  • Mason won by 39.3% in McPherson
  • Powell won the primary by 19.5% but won the general by just 4.7% in Olathe
  • Rahjes did not have any opponents in Agra
  • Vickrey won by 17.5% in Louisburg
  • Whitmer won by 24.9% in Wichita
  • Williams did not have any opponents in Augusta


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