Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday I brought you a list of Republicans running for the Kansas House of Representatives who faced challenges from the right backed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce (in part because of their support for a sales tax increase). Here are the results, with winners called by the Associated Press in bold:
As you can see, one challenger succeeded and one race is too close to call although it looks as though the incumbent will hang on -- Sheryl Spalding leads by 29 votes. Plus, in the one Senate race, the sales tax supporter also beat the Chamber-backed challenger.
Even if the more moderate candidates do end up winning 9 out of these 10 races, we shouldn't be too bold about the conclusions. Defeating incumbent lawmakers is like being a hitter in baseball: If you fail two-thirds of the time, you end up in the hall of fame (well, not really, since a .333 on-base percentage is pretty bad, but who am I to argue with a cliché?)
To really know whether the coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Kansas House will continue, we'd have to know the ideologies of all the candidates who won primaries in open-seat races. We'd also, of course, need to know how many seats Democrats and Republicans will have after the November election.
Still, what I would say is that these results show that there wasn't a massive groundswell of opposition to Republicans who voted for the sales tax hike. Combined with Rick Snyder's win in Michigan, it was a good day to be a moderate Republican.
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