Some of the voter turnout was predictable. Robert Leon Tillman was the Democratic challenger to Republican Mike Pompeo, the second term US Representative for the 4th district in the Wichita area. Tillman had little money, little recognition and his campaign went largely unnoticed. He got 58776 or 34% of the vote compared to Pompeo’s 102280 or 59%.
That campaign was predictable and most of the other campaigns went about the same. However, the State Senator race for the 25th district went Republican, but not by much. Michael O’Donnell was a far-right candidate backed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other big money interests to beat out moderate Republican Jean Schodorf in the primary.
While he did win the election, he beat a liberal Democrat by only 2 percentage points. Democrat Timothy Snow got 8797 votes or 44% of the vote. Republican Michael O'Donnell got 9117 or 46%. For a Republican in Kansas, those results are unusual. Normally Republicans win by a landslide. Snow opposed cutting the budgets of education and social services. On his web site he said he did not want “to provide tax breaks for our wealthiest who don't need it.” He said he was a member of the ACLU, and he said;
“I support Justice for the working people of Kansas I stand with the labor movement.”
Normally such stands on the issues would be the kiss-of- death to a candidate running in the Wichita area. So what happened in this election? One factor is that the moderate faction of the Republican Party was very unhappy that their usual supporters, such as the Chamber, turned on them. Schodorf was a moderate Republican who had held that office for years and she had served the business interest well. She and her supporters felt betrayed. This is very likely one reason why O’Donnell just barely won.
It should also be a wake-up call the Republicans that they are taking their constituents for granted and they may find that in future elections, they will have to actually EARN the votes they get.