by Mary Rupert
Incumbent Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-36th Dist., won re-election Tuesday night as Wyandotte County voters set a record in voter turnout for midterm elections.
The 49.13 percent voter turnout here saw 40,853 ballots cast, according to election office records.
“Over the years, Wyandotte County has gotten sort of beat up,” Rep. Wolfe Moore said, with people saying that Wyandotte County voters don’t turn out.
“Well, this election, Wyandotte County did its job,” Rep. Wolfe Moore said. The 49 percent turnout was a record for a midterm election, according to the election office.
It compares to a turnout of 29,123 in the midterm election of 2014, which was 35.3 percent, according to Rep. Wolfe Moore.
“So Wyandotte County showed up big at this election and should be proud of their performance,” she said.
Why the high turnout? Rep. Wolfe Moore said it was because the Democratic candidate at the top, Laura Kelly, was a good candidate and drove a lot of voter excitement, along with the 3rd District Congressional candidate, Sharice Davids.
Different people got involved in this election, she added. A lot of clergy members in Wyandotte County participated by encouraging voter turnout, not endorsing candidates but sponsoring “Souls to the Polls” and other voter turnout events, she said.
Rep. Wolfe Moore attended Gov.-elect Kelly’s election watch party on Tuesday evening in Topeka.
“In the governor’s race, I really think the voters of Kansas put partisan politics aside in most respects, and really tried to vote for the best person to lead Kansas forward,” Rep. Wolfe Moore said. “I think they realized the last eight years have been incredibly difficult for Kansas, and they were willing to cross party lines and vote for the best candidate. That’s where it should be, and that’s very gratifying to see.”
Women were elected to many offices throughout the nation on Tuesday night, with more women running for governor nationally. Rep. Wolfe Moore said there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm among women voters for women candidates this year, possibly driven by what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
“I think women candidates had an advantage this year, no doubt,” she said.
It might be difficult for a Democratic governor where Republicans control the House and Senate to get things done.
“One thing that will help is she’s committed,” Rep. Wolfe Moore said. “Her administration is going to be bipartisan.”
Gov.-elect Kelly is expected to appoint people from the Democratic and Republican parties to her administration, Rep. Wolfe Moore said.
She believes that it’s possible to run a successful bipartisan administration, because former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius previously did so, and was successful at getting her policy priorities accomplished.
“Laura is in the Senate and there are 40 senators,” Rep. Wolfe Moore said. “This year there were nine Democrats.”
She always had to work with the opposing party to get anything done, Rep. Wolfe Moore said.
“That experience and reputation will help her quite a bit,” she said. “She’s not seen as overly partisan.”
Rep. Wolfe Moore, an eight-year incumbent, won her contest with about 70 percent of the vote. Her district is on the northwest side of Wyandotte County.
The campaign was a very civil one, with Rep. Wolfe Moore and Chiquita Coggs, the Republican nominee, not engaging in negative campaigning.
Coggs was the only Republican who filed for a state representative position in Wyandotte County.
State Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-33rd Dist., won re-election Tuesday night with 67.8 percent of the vote against Libertarian Jason Conley.
Other state representatives, without opposition, who were re-elected here included Rep. Louis E. Ruiz, D-31st Dist.; Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.; Rep. Val Winn, D-34th Dist.; Rep. Broderick Henderson, D-35th Dist.; and Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist.