Defeated Kan. Legislator Switches Parties

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ An outgoing legislator switches parties after being successfully targeted for defeat in this year's Democratic primary by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Sen. Mark Gilstrap, of Kansas City, says he has become a Republican despite his family's 160-year loyalty to the Democratic Party.

Gilstrap loses his Senate seat on Jan. 12 when his four-year term expires. Sebelius supported and helped raise money for his opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen.-elect Kelly Kultala, also from Kansas City.

In a statement, Gilstrap said the Democratic Party has shifted "radically to the left.''

Some Democrats argued Gilstrap voted with Republicans and was a Democrat only to increase his chances of getting votes in heavily Democratic Wyandotte County.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)