The Buzz

Poll shows Kansas state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook struggling in re-election race

The Kansas Capitol.
The Kansas Capitol.

A new poll shows that come election night, Mary Pilcher-Cook may struggle to keep her state senate seat.

The survey, released by Pilcher-Cook’s Democratic challenger Vicki Hiatt, shows the retired educator with a 3 percent lead over Pilcher-Cook in Senate district 10. The district leans Republican and in 2012 Pilcher-Cook won re-election with more than 58 percent of the vote. North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling surveyed 500 voters in the 10th senate district between Aug. 19 and 21 to get the results.

The results show Hiatt leading Pilcher-Cook 43 percent to 40 percent, though 17 percent said they were undecided. The poll’s margin of error is 4.4 percent.

No one ran against Pilcher-Cook in the Legislature’s Aug. 2 primary. But across Johnson County, other conservative incumbents in the senate like Jeff Melcher and Greg Smith were ousted by moderate challengers. Some Kansas Democrats have said the primary results are a sign that their party could defeat incumbents like Pilcher-Cook in November.

Though the poll does show that Hiatt has a lead in the race, it also shows that she’s struggling to win voters’ goodwill. Only 12 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Democrat, while 79 percent said they were undecided.

In a brief phone interview, Pilcher-Cook questioned the poll’s credibility.

“I do believe the people of the 10th senate district will vote for the candidate that will fight for their values,” she said.

Most recently, Pilcher-Cook was the only member of the state senate to vote against the $38 million school funding solution state lawmakers passed during June’s special session.

In the same survey, 45 percent said they would vote for Donald Trump in the presidential race while 39 percent said they’d vote for Hillary Clinton.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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