What if they had a party and no one showed up? Kansas Democrats must be asking themselves that question as they enter this election year.
The latest no-show: Topeka-area State Senator Laura Kelly. She had been regarded as the Democrat candidate with the most potential to unseat Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-2nd District) but announced Thursday that she’s dropping out of the Congressional race. The second congressional district covers all of Eastern Kansas except the Kansas City Metropolitan area.
In her announcement, Kelly said she was “forced to make a decision between honoring the pledge I made to the people in my senate district and my firm conviction that the people of the 2nd Congressional District deserve a truly independent voice in Congress.
“This has been a very hard decision, but it is the right one,” said Kelly. “As the financial condition of this state has worsened, it has become clear that there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week to make it possible for me to fulfill my duties as a state senator who is the ranking member of the Senate’s budget committee and be a fulltime candidate for Congress.”
Kelly joins of growing list of Democratic candidates who have backed out, leaving Democrats with few high-profile candidates beyond Attorney General Steven Six, who was appointed to fill the post when Republican-turned-Democrat, Paul Morrison, resigned in the face of a sex scandal.
Congressman Dennis Moore (D-3rd District) was considered by many as a virtual shoe-in for re-election to his Kansas City Metro Congressional district, surprised many when he announced that he would not seek re-election.
Olathe businessman Tom Wiggans also recently abandoned his quest to become Governor, citing the size of the campaign chest of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) the front running Republican candidate. Wiggans also faced some embarrassing lawsuits concerning a business in California.
Gov. Mark Parkinson, who was appointed when Kathleen Sebelius resigned to take a federal cabinet post, has said twice he won’t run for re-election and] Lt. Gov. Troy Findley has also said he won’t run for Governor.