State Sen. Steve Fitgerald is urging his Republican opponents to get out of the race for U.S. Congress. Fitzgerald is one of a handful of Republican candidates vying to replace Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins in the Kansas 2nd Congressional District.
Jenkins said she won’t seek re-election in 2018. Fitzgerald said his opponents should follow the example set by Wink Hartman and drop out of the race. Hartman suspended his gubernatorial campaign on Wednesday last week, saying his presence in the race would split the conservative vote.
“Wink decided to drop out of the race instead of being a spoiler of our conservative values,” Fitzgerald says. “It was a wise and helpful decision. Others should take note.”
None of the 2nd Congressional district candidates are taking Fitzgerald up on that suggestion.
Candidate Tyler Tannhill says while he’d like to see the field narrowed, having several candidates at this time is a good way to give voters a chance to vet all the issues.
“It’s too early to be demanding other candidates get out of the race,” Tannahill said.
There remain a large number of Republicans vying for the Congressional seat, including state Sen. Caryn Tyson, state Rep. Kevin Jones, Basehor city council member Vernon Fields, and former Topeka city council candidate Matt Bevens, and Steve Waktins.
“I plan on running this race to the end, and we plan to win this race,” Tyson said. “We’re focused on running a positive race, and not on what our opponents are doing.”
The winner of the Republican primary will likely face former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat. Davis etched out a narrow win in the second district when he ran for Governor in 2014,though President Trump won the district by nearly 20 points in 2016. Davis’ good showing in the traditionally Republican district has many pundits suggesting the Congressional race will be a close one.
Fitgerald says the American people approved the Trump agenda in 2016.
“We need a candidate that will do that,” Fitzgerald said. “We cannot stand by quietly and let Nancy Pelosi become the speaker of the house again.”
Democrats need to pick-up 24 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives nationwide to gain control of the house.