Kansas lawmakers taking heat following overflow crowds at Democratic caucuses — KC Star 2008

Kansas lawmakers taking heat following overflow crowds at Democratic caucuses
Kansas City Star, The (MO)-February 9, 2008
Author: JIM SULLINGER, The Kansas City Star

Just after 7 p.m. Tuesday, Julie Merz, a Democratic Party caucus leader, addressed 250 Democrats inside a crowded Overland Park church. A crowd of hundreds waited outside in a cold mist for their turn to cast a vote.

“How many want a primary in four years?” she asked the assembled crowd. “Talk to your legislator who couldn’t find $2 million in the budget for an election.”

Well, some Democrats apparently took her advice.

Sen. Julia Lynn, an Olathe Republican, got calls and e-mails blaming her for the caucus mess Tuesday night.

Sen. Phil Journey, a Wichita Republican, also reported getting calls from frustrated caucus participants as well as did Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, Rep. Terrie Huntington, a Fairway Republican, and Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican.

The irony is that Yoder, Journey and Lynn were two of the biggest supporters last year of spending $1.6 million for a presidential primary election. They fought in committees and on the House and Senate floor for the appropriation.

But in the final days of last year’s session, Senate and House leaders stripped the provision from a large appropriations bill and left the two political parties with caucuses.

So, who can be blamed?

On March 15, Rep. Charles Roth, a Salina Republican, offered an amendment prohibiting the use of any state money for a presidential primary.

It passed 85 to 34.

Here’s how state representatives from Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties voted on that amendment:

Republicans voting Yes: Tim Owens, Overland Park; Kay Wolf, Prairie Village; Owen Donohoe and Judy Morrison, both of Shawnee; Terri Huntington, Fairway; Rob Olson and Arlen Siegfreid, both of Olathe; Ray Merrick, Stilwell; Stephanie Sharp (currently not in the Legislature) and Ron Worley, both of Lenexa, and Kenny Wilk, Lansing.

Republicans voting No: Anthony Brown, Eudora; Jeff Colyer, Ben Hodge and Kevin Yoder, all of Overland Park; Mike Kiegerl and Lance Kinzer, both of Olathe, and Ronnie Metsker, Roeland Park.

Democrats voting Yes: Tom Burroughs, Stan Frownfelter, Broderick Henderson, Margaret Long, Louis Ruiz, and Valdenia Winn, all of Kansas City, Kan.; Marti Crow and Candy Ruff, both of Leavenworth; Cindy Neighbor, Shawnee, and Gene Rardin, Overland Park.

On Feb. 22, all 40 senators voted in favor of holding a presidential primary this year.

However, that bill didn’t appropriate the money to pay for it.

Those dollars were originally in the Senate budget but were taken out by the House.

Amendments offered in the Senate to put the money back in failed. Those were led by Journey and Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat.

The votes on those amendments were never recorded.

Edition: 1
Section: COLATHE
Page: OL6

Provided By: Knight-Ridder Digital
Location(s): Lansing; Kansas City, Kan
Personal Name(s): Julie Merz; Julia Lynn; Phil Journey; Lance Kinzer; Terrie Huntington; Kevin Yoder; Charles Roth; Tim Owens; Kay Wolf; Owen Donohoe; Judy Morrison; Terri Huntington; Rob Olson; Arlen Siegfreid; Ray Merrick; Stephanie Sharp; Ron Worley; Kenny Wilk; Anthony Brown; Jeff Colyer; Ben Hodge; Ronnie Metsker; Tom Burroughs; Broderick Henderson; Margaret Long; Louis Ruiz; Marti Crow; Candy Ruff; Cindy Neighbor; Gene Rardin; David Haley Record Number: 200802090001KNRIDDERMOKCITYS_primary_ola_lea_len_mis_020908
Copyright (c) 2008 The Kansas City Star