Why Kansas?

In 2020, EveryDistrict is committing to helping make serious change in Kansas. That’s right: Kansas. Here’s why change is possible in Kansas and why 2020 is the year to act.

1. With a Democratic governor, beating the Republican supermajority can shift the balance of power in the state

In 2018, Democrat Laura Kelly was elected, giving Democrats control of the Governor’s office for the first time since 2010. Her ability to make progress for Kansas has been hampered by Republican supermajorities in both the Senate and the House. That means that Republicans can override her vetoes of their most extreme pieces of legislation.

Luckily, the seats are there for the taking to create power. Democrats need to win three seats to break the supermajority in the Senate and one seat in House. EveryDistrict has endorsed five candidates in the Senate and six in the House. In the maps below, we show some of the winnable seats.

2. A Message about Republican Extremism

Kansas is a story about the excesses of Republican rule. From 2011-2019, Republicans implemented the GOP fantasy of limited government. The result: a cratering of public expenditure. That resulted in unconstitutionally low spending on public education, harming Kansan children. The “Kansas experiment,” which Republicans have aimed to implement in states across the country, was an abject failure.

With a bulwark in the legislature, Democrats can help Governor Kelly implement another vision of what Kansas can be. Most notably, Governor Kelly could make Medicaid expansion a reality, a policy change that would literally save lives. And this sort of Democratic leadership pays political dividends. Governor Jon Bel Edwards of Louisiana also came into office in the wake of a similar experiment in government destruction. His commonsense approach, including expanding Medicaid, helped him win re-election in an increasingly red southern state. We can bring similar change to Kansas.  

3. Kansas’s well-educated, growing suburban communities are ripe for change

Close political observers know that a big piece of Democrats’ gains in 2018 came from college-educated suburban voters, particularly women. Many of the key districts in Kansas are highly college-educated, as shown in the table below. That makes Kansas one of the biggest gain opportunities for Democrats in 2020. Of the eleven districts where EveryDistrict has made endorsements, college-educated whites represent more than 50% of the likely voters in seven of them.

Table. College-Educated Voters in Kansas Districts

4. A Win in Kansas is a Win for a Nationwide Democratic Coalition

One of the EveryDistrict’s goals is to broaden where Democrats hold power. As Eitan Hirsch, the Yale political scientist has written, politics is about power. Given how much policymaking power rests in the states, Democrats have to escape their bicoastal coalition to reshape America in a more just and humane direction. If we want to restore a prairie populism in 2020, Kansas is the place to start.

Where We Can Win

Kansas Senate

Democrats can make gains not only in the Kansas City suburbs, but also in Topeka and Wichita.

In this map, districts in yellow are those held by Republicans where EveryDistrict has endorsed. Light blue districts are held by Democrats, but lean Republican.

Kansas House

While there are winnable districts across the state in the House, too, some of the best pickup opportunities are in Johnson County outside of Kansas City. The map below shows those seats.

How We’re Taking Action

EveryDistrict has endorsed five candidates in the Senate and six candidates in the House who can beat Republicans to build Democratic power. As always, we’re supporting candidates by helping you donate directly to their campaigns.

Kansas is one of the best places for grassroots donors. Campaigns are some of the cheapest in the country—and donation limits are low. That means your dollar goes further with a donation to state legislative candidates in Kansas.

Click below to make a donation. 100% of what you give will go directly to EveryDistrict’s slate of Kansas candidates.