Kansas is a state entirely controlled by Republicans now and one that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 by 20 points. And yet in a couple of weeks, voters there could elect a Democrat to be their governor for the first time in eight years – just in time to have a hand in the upcoming redistricting battle that could shape control of the state for the next decade.
That there is such a tight race is more a reflection of Republican control of the state for the past eight years than any major shift in conservative Kansas to the left.
Kansas has been struggling for years with massive budget shortfalls. Those have cut deep into budgets for roads, schools and hospitals in a way that’s hard for the average Kansan to miss.