Kan. Democrats Select Delegates, Recruit Candidates At State Convention

By: Giang Nguyen Email
By: Giang Nguyen Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Democratic Party faithful met for their 2012 Democratic State Convention Saturday afternoon at the Ramada Convention Center.

Party members and leaders voted on the State delegation to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina in September.

They selected eleven at-large delegates, including six women and five men.

Among the at-large women delegates are:
Grace Lancaster - Topeka
Cynthia Nelson - Lincoln
Jill Reed - Shawnee
Alyce Edwards - Kansas City
Sidwell Jones - Atchison
Glenda Reynolds - Whitewater

The list of men include:
Rehan Reza - Topeka
Mark J. Greene - Shawnee
Robert Choromanski - Lenexa
Jim Oberbeck - Scammon
Andrew Rickel - Manhattan

Democrates also selected five party leader and elected official delegates and selected Bill Roy Jr. of Lenexa and Teresa Krusor of Winfield as the new National Delegation Committeeman and Committeewoman. The pair will take office after the conclusion of the national convention.

The list of party leader and elected official delegates include Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, Senator Anthony Hensley of Topeka, Representative Paul Davis of Lawrence, KDP State Secretary Barbara Fowler of Emporia and 2nd Congressional District Chair Kathryn Focke of Manhattan.

"Our total delegation strength when we go to North Carolina will be 55," State Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon said.

Despite their obvious pledge to President Barack Obama, Wagnon says there's still a lot of excitement at the state convention.

"By now the Republicans have figured out there nominee and the Democrats of course have their nominee, President Obama, so it'll just be a time for us to get together and get inspired and get ready for these elections," she said.

District maps issued by a U.S. district court last Thursday added a source of excitement at the state convention and a bit of a mad scramble for the minority party seeking to gain seats in the legislature.

"We got holes, we gotta find people," Wagnon told convention attendees.

New district lines on the House map have created 25 districts with no incumbents, 21 and with two incumbents each. Of those, 13 have two GOP lawmakers, six have one Republican and one Democratic incumbent and two have two Democratic lawmakers.

Republicans have called the new maps disruptive, but Democrats are chomping at the bit to run candidates, especially in House districts without an incumbent.

"I don't think I have ever seen a time when we have so many incumbents running against each other and so many open seats. There are 25 open seats in the house and many open seats in the senate races," she said.

"When district boundaries are traditionally drawn, there's a high degree of incumbent protection," Representative Paul Davis said.
"We're fortunately having lot of people trying to step up." Davis said. "We're hoping to pick up some here today at the state convention."

The party only has this weekend to recruit.

Those planning to file their candidacy on Monday, the filing deadline, were introduced one by one to cheers from the crowd.

Among them was Topekan Tobias Schlingensiepen, running for the 2nd District, which now includes the entire city of Lawrence.

It was previously split between the 2nd and 3rd Districts and is represented by incumbent Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins.

"Bring it on," she told 13 News. "It's a fabulous process we enjoy here in this great nation," she said.


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