Moderate Republicans are making Kansas’ primary election a referendum on the state’s budget problems and education funding as they try to oust conservative incumbents.
More than two dozen GOP legislators face primary opponents Tuesday. Most are allies of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and continue to support his experiment in cutting state income taxes to stimulate the economy.
They included Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce.
The voting occurs against the backdrop not only of the state’s fiscal woes but ongoing legal and political disputes over funding for public schools.
The state Supreme Court could rule by the end of the year on whether the Legislature is shorting schools on their state aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Polls are open until 7 p.m. local time.
Republican voters in western and central Kansas are deciding a hot primary race that could unseat congressman Tim Huelskamp.
They were deciding Tuesday whether Huelskamp’s willingness to buck party leaders in Washington reflects a much-needed streak of independence or a character flaw that prevents him from being effective.
His contentious race against Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall in the 1st District was the state’s marquee congressional primary. A central issue was Huelskamp’s being booted from the House Agriculture Committee late in 2012 amid disputes with GOP leaders over farm and fiscal legislation.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District in the Kansas City area also faced challengers in the Republican primary. But they were expected to defeat their relatively unknown opponents easily.