Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Brownback Signs Legislation Permanently Eliminating Presidential Primary in Kansas

On Monday, June 8, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) signed into law the conference committee report on HB 2104. The omnibus elections package tweaks a number of provisions in the Kansas statutes, but importantly strikes mention of a presidential primary from state election code.

The custom in the Sunflower state for the last two decades has been to cancel the primary one cycle at a time, leaving the April election on the books as an option for future cycles. The new law signed on Monday breaks with that pattern. Neither party in Kansas has utilized the presidential primary election as a means of selecting or allocating delegates to the national convention since 1992. That is five straight presidential election cycles that a presidential primary has existed in the state and been canceled. Kansas parties have opted into a caucus/convention process, but now will not have that option.

Kansas is now locked in as a caucus state (for 2016 and likely beyond barring future action by the legislature). Democrats have already made plans to hold Saturday, March 5 caucuses in 2016. If Kansas Republicans stay true to the form established over the last two cycles, they, too, will conduct caucuses on March 5, the Saturday after Super Tuesday.

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