The Buzz

How Brownback won Johnson County

By BRAD COOPER

The Kansas City

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made his victory speech on Nov. 4 in Topeka.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made his victory speech on Nov. 4 in Topeka. THE KANSAS CITY STAR

On election night, there was some disbelief that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback defeated Democrat Paul Davis in Johnson County.

After all, the county is home to many moderate Republican leaders who opposed Brownback’s bid for a second term.

But a review of the final results show that not only did Brownback score big victories in the exurbs outside the Interstate 435 loop, he also pulled off wins (or virtual ties) in some of the county’s bigger cities.

As one might expect, Brownback piled up wins in outlying cities such as De Soto, Edgerton, Spring Hill, Gardner and Olathe, where conservatives have a strong political base.

A lot of those areas represent much of Johnson County’s new growth in the last decade or so. Brownback averaged 55 percent of the vote in those cities with his biggest margins of victory in Edgerton and Spring Hill.

Davis, meanwhile, won in some of the more established areas of Johnson County, including many of the smaller cities near the state line. But even there, Brownback had some success, winning affluent Mission Hills by 36 votes.

Brownback also made big gains against Davis in cities straddling the Interstate 435 loop, often the demarcation line between the more established suburbs and many areas that are still rapidly growing.

While Davis carried Overland Park, he did so by only 27 votes. Davis carried Lenexa, too, but by only 22 votes. Brownback won Shawnee by 490 votes. And he won Leawood handily, by a little more than 1,000 votes.

Here is the final tally by city for the governor’s race in Johnson County, including Libertarian Keen Umbehr. Percentages were rounded.

Overall

Brownback: 49 percent

Davis: 48 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

DeSoto

Brownback: 54 percent

Davis: 42 percent

Umbehr: 4 percent

Edgerton

Brownback: 60 percent

Davis: 36 percent

Umbehr: 4 percent

Fairway

Brownback: 37 percent

Davis: 62 percent

Umbehr: 2 percent

Gardner

Brownback: 53 percent

Davis: 42 percent

Umbehr: 5 percent

Lake Quivira

Brownback: 53 percent

Davis: 45 percent

Umbehr: 2 percent

Leawood

Brownback: 53 percent

Davis: 46 percent

Umbehr: 2 percent

Lenexa

Brownback: 49 percent

Davis: 49 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

Merriam

Brownback: 38 percent

Davis: 58 percent

Umbehr: 4 percent

Mission

Brownback: 33 percent

Davis: 63 percent

Umbehr: 4 percent

Mission Hills

Brownback: 51 percent

Davis: 49 percent

Umbehr: 1 percent

Mission Woods

Brownback: 37 percent

Davis: 62 percent

Umbehr: 1 percent

Olathe

Brownback: 54 percent

Davis: 43 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

Overland Park

Brownback: 49 percent

Davis: 49 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

Prairie Village

Brownback: 37 percent

Davis: 61 percent

Umbehr: 2 percent

Roeland Park

Brownback: 32 percent

Davis: 65 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

Shawnee

Brownback: 49 percent

Davis: 47 percent

Umbehr: 3 percent

Spring Hill

Brownback: 58 percent

Davis: 36 percent

Umbehr: 6 percent

Westwood

Brownback: 29 percent

Davis: 69 percent

Umbehr: 2 percent

Westwood Hills

Brownback: 27 percent

Davis: 72 percent

Umbehr: 1 percent

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

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