Government & Politics

August 5, 2014

Leawood’s Ken Selzer heads toward GOP primary win in insurance commissioner race

The accountant led a crowded field in which all five candidates campaigned against Obamacare. The winner will run against Democrat Dennis Anderson of Overland Park in November.

Leawood accountant Ken Selzer took a strong lead Tuesday night and appeared headed toward winning the Republican nomination for Kansas insurance commissioner.

With nearly 88 percent of the precincts counted statewide, Selzer headed a crowded field in which all five candidates campaigned against Obamacare.

By late Tuesday, Selzer was winning with 28 percent of the vote. Health insurance consultant Beverly Gossage of Eudora was running second with 23 percent. She had a few thousand more votes than Kansas Sen. Clark Shultz of Lindsborg, who also had 23 percent.

Insurance agent David Powell of El Dorado and Johnson County commissioner John Toplikar were running behind the pack.

Seeking to replace Republican incumbent Sandy Praeger, Selzer came out against Obamacare but emphasized the need to make the state’s insurance industry more competitive for consumers.

The former Fairway councilman contended that insurance companies, especially health care insurers, have been leaving the state for better regulatory climates.

Selzer, managing director for an insurance services provider, led the field in fundraising. He took in about $267,000 over two years. As of July 24, reports showed he had about $3,700 left in the bank.

The winner will run against Democrat Dennis Anderson of Overland Park in November.

In other primary races for statewide offices in Kansas, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach was turning back an energetic challenge from former Lawrence school board member Scott Morgan.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted statewide, Kobach led Morgan with 65 percent of the vote.

Awaiting Kobach in the general election will be Democrat Jean Schodorf, a former state senator from Wichita. Polls have shown Schodorf trailing Kobach by 6 percentage points entering the general election.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback defeated challenger Jennifer Winn of Wichita in a primary that drew scant attention. Brownback defeated Winn with 63 percent of the vote.

Brownback now moves on to the main political event for Kansas in the fall where he will face Democrat Paul Davis and Libertarian Keen Umbehr.

Polls have shown Brownback struggling because of falling state revenues that some blame on state income tax cuts he signed into law in 2012 and 2013.

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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