Brent Wistrom (@BrentWistrom) August 07, 2012
Polls have now closed.
Polls closed in KS. Nothing at the federal level, but lots of state senate races.—
Nathan Wurtzel (@NathanWurtzel) August 08, 2012
There are some highly contested races, with conservative candidates hoping to oust “moderate” entrenched incumbents.
“There is a concerted effort to eliminate traditional Republican senators in favor of more tea party-style senators,” said Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a moderate from Lindsborg.
Most of the moderates facing conservative challengers voted in 2010, at Parkinson’s urging, to increase the state’s sales tax to help balance the state budget. They also resisted Brownback’s successful push this year to cut income taxes.
“If you go back to elections in 2010, we can say voters clearly expressed that they wanted conservative policies,” said Rep. Joe Patton, a conservative who’s trying to unseat moderate Sen. Vicki Schmidt in a Topeka primary. “What we’re seeing now is just the same dynamic.”
The moderates have been getting some help from Democrats. In districts with contested senate races, Democrats have changed their party affiliation in order to vote for the moderate Republican. Early returns show this “help” may not have been enough.
Stay tuned! Twitchy will monitor the results and update with developments as the returns come in.
12:46am Update: The conservative wave is overtaking the Kansas state legislature…
It was 25 years in the making:
Conservative Republicans scored big wins across Kansas on Tuesday as they set themselves up to seize control of the state Senate and clear a path for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda.
Moderates lost in many key Senate races in Tuesday’s GOP primary, including five of six seats that were up for grabs in Johnson County.
The races were particularly bitter and expensive as the battle between conservative and moderate Republicans reached a 25-year crescendo. At stake was control of the Kansas Senate, where moderate Republicans have teamed with Democrats to slow Brownback’s agenda.
Brownback took the rare but not unprecedented step of campaigning for conservative Senate and House candidates. His former chief of staff even chipped in with cash to help conservatives in their races against moderate Republicans.
Conservatives needed to pick up just three or four seats to turn the direction of the Senate. By late Tuesday night conservatives were winning in 17 of 21 Senate races across Kansas where they were running against moderates.
If the trend continued, it appeared that conservatives would be able to turn at least 10 moderate seats in their favor.