Republicans in the Kansas House have elected a new, more conservative majority leader
Rep. Dan Hawkins of Wichita won a vote of GOP members and members-elect over moderate Majority Leader Don Hineman of Dighton. The vote was 48-35, with one member not voting and another absent.
Hawkins’ election is likely to complicate Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s efforts to pass her legislative agenda. She wants to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage for the needy, and Hineman backed the idea. Hawkins opposes Medicaid expansion.
Hineman has served as majority leader for the past two years. His election in 2016 signaled a resurgence of GOP moderates’ strength.
But conservatives regained at least six seats at moderates’ expense in this year’s elections even though the partisan split in the House remained at 85-40.