Johnson County’s reputation as a home for a large base of moderate Republicans took a hit on Election Day.
Supporters of Democrat Paul Davis in the governor’s race and independent Greg Orman in the U.S. Senate contest were hoping that dissatisfaction with the GOP status quo would help propel them to victories on Nov. 4.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, voters gave narrow margins in the county to help re-elect Republicans Sam Brownback as governor and Pat Roberts as senator.
Both received almost the same number of votes and percentages of the vote in their races: 94,787 for Brownback (49.15 percent) and 94,843 for Roberts (49.19 percent).
An analysis by The Star showed that Brownback beat Davis in all of the exurban parts of the county, including cities such as Olathe, De Soto and Gardner. He also took Leawood. And the governor almost won in Overland Park and Lenexa.
It is true that Brownback actually had a worse showing in this election than he did in 2010, when he became governor. Brownback took 63.2 percent of the Johnson County vote that year.
Meanwhile, Roberts also fell off dramatically from the last time he was on the ballot in the county, in 2008. The senator won 57.7 percent of the vote that year.
Supporters of Davis and Orman thought this year would be far different. But in the end, large numbers of conservative Republican voters turned out at the polls and gave a thumbs up to both incumbents.
That trend appears likely to keep growing in the future, because much of the county’s growth is in its most politically right-leaning areas.