Suburbs at Center of Political Backlash

Small-government Republican conservatives face a political backlash in Kansas because of the state’s budget problems and battles over education funding.

The epicenter is in sprawling Kansas City suburbs where residents have cherished public schools for decades.

But the Democrats and GOP moderates hoping to lessen the grip Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s allies have on the Legislature must contend with a political paradox in Johnson County and its affluent suburbs.

Johnson County voters regularly approve bonds and property tax increases for schools yet elect conservative legislators who’ve backed the governor’s experiment in slashing state income taxes.

More than two dozen conservative Republican legislators face challengers in Tuesday’s primary.

They include 11 incumbents in Johnson County, which is the state’s most populous. Challengers there have made education funding a key issue.