Multiple candidates running for office in Kansas facing objections

Capitol Bureau

Multiple candidates running for office in Kansas are facing scrutiny after objections were filed. 

The State’s Objection Board is scheduled to meet Monday, June 11 to hear each case. 

On Friday, Massachusetts resident Vermin Supreme filed to run for Kansas Attorney General. Three days later, an objection was filed.  

“The Kansas Republican Party filed an objection that he is not qualified to hold the office because he is not a resident of the State of Kansas,” explained Director of Elections Bryan Caskey. 

Last month, the objections board ruled gubernatorial candidate Andy Maskin couldn’t be on the ballot because he wasn’t a Kansas resident. Caskey says the Vermin Supreme filing is a similar case. 

Another objection filed has to do with the 4th Congressional District race where current Republican Congressman Ron Estes is facing a primary challenger with the same name.

For distinction between the two candidates, the Secretary of State’s office is letting the current Congressman use “Rep” in front of his name on the ballot. The other Ron Estes will appear on the ballot with his middle initial, Ron M. Estes. 

Current Kansas law prohibits candidates from using a title on the ballot, but Caskey explained the state believes this is the exception.

“Only having a middle initial that is different seems to be very confusing to the voter,” Caskey said. 

The objection was filed by Democratic candidate Laura Lombard who is facing James Thompson in the primary. 

In her objection letter, Lombard said her concern is for current Congressman Estes winning the primary. Lombard’s letter said “he will have an unfair advantage over his general election opponent through the utilization of his title.”

“This decision was made in the context of this primary election because it’s really hard to determine between the two Ron Estes,” Caskey said.

He added come the general election that could change. 

We reached out to both Ron Estes and Ron M. Estes about the objection.

“This is political dirty tricks and a clear attempt to mislead Kansas voters,” said Rep. Ron Estes’ spokesman Josh Bell. “Kansas election law protects voters from attempts like this to mislead them. The law provides a method for voters to distinguish between an imposter candidate and an incumbent with the same name. Instead of issuing complaints against Rep. Ron Estes, candidates should be focused instead on condemning any attempt to mislead Kansas voters.” 

Ron M. Estes emailed KSN the letter he sent to Mr. Caskey.

“I have been disappointed with the decision by the Kansas Secretary of State Office in trying to add an unlawful title to my opponent’s name on the Primary Ballot, in their view, to provide unique distinction between candidates. Unfortunately the use of “Rep.” preceding a name would infer “representative” which is just as bad as indicating the “incumbent” on the ballot. That is unfair and biased.”

The third objection filed is over the residency in the 85th district which is in Wichita. The seat was recently vacated by Republican Rep. Chuck Weber.

Democratic Rep. Vic Miller filed the complaint for Democratic candidate Monica Marks claiming her competitor, Republican candidate Michael Capps, doesn’t live in the district. 

“It’s my belief the State Objections Board will make a final decision next Monday, which is important because military ballots go out 18 days from today,” explained Caskey. 

The State Objection Board consists of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, and Lt. Governor Tracey Mann. 
 

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