Lost in the media kerfuffle over the extremely close Kansas GOP gubernatorial primary, perhaps purposely so, is that the GOP primary attracted more than twice as many voters as the Democratic one did, and both were highly contested.
The New York Times does not do much well any more, but one thing it does do well is count votes. In fact, it does a better job calculating outcomes than predicting them.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, excluding the provisional ballots now being sorted, 311,009 Kansans voted in the Republican primary; 152, 856 voted in the Democratic primary. Republicans Kris Kobach and Jeff Colyer each received 60 percent more votes than Democratic nominee Laura Kelly.
If Kobach and Colyer represented different ideological factions, the Democrats would have a better chance of peeling off Republicans. But they don’t. As Kobach said on Wednesday, “You can describe me how you want, but on core Republican issues, Jeff and I, we are standing in the same place.” Each has promised to support the other.
The county by county results hold a few surprises. Colyer did carry Johnson County as anticipated, but his 6 percent margin was not enough to put him over the top. Roughly 60 percent more people cast a GOP vote than a Democrat vote in Johnson County despite the highly contested 3rd District primary.
Colyer’s strongest support came from North Central Kansas. Although not heavily populated, several of these counties gave Colyer a double digit margin of victory. On the Democratic side, Josh Svaty carried many of these same counties. Although he received only 17 percent of the vote statewide, he carried 26 counties. In Ellsworth County, Svaty received 87 percent of the Democratic vote.
In the Third District race, which includes Johnson County, roughly 25 percent more people voted on the Republican side than on the Democratic side despite the national attention that highly contested Democratic primary attracted. Incumbent Kevin Yoder won against nominal opposition. Sharice Davids narrowly ousted progressive poster boy Brent Welder on the Democratic side.