Kahrs, Schmidt to vye for 2nd District Seat

Two longtime Kansas Republican stalwarts have announced plans to seek Jake LaTurner’s Second Congressional District seat when he vacates it after the coming November election.

Former Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made the announcement Friday morning, and joins LaTurner’s former district director Jeff Kahrs who announced for the office this week. The two will face off in the August Republican primary, with probable introductions of yet more candidates who want to take LaTurners post.

Schmidt was defeated in the 2022 Kansas governor’s race after contention within his own party and a Democrat-assisted candidacy by Republican state senator-turned-Independent Dennis Pyle. He served 12 years as Kansas Attorney General after breaching Kansas politics when he was elected as a state senator from Independence.

Kahrs staffed for LaTurner in Washington and ran the office of 4th District Congressman Todd Tiahrt during the latter’s congressional tenure. Kahrs was appointed by former Governor Sam Brownback at the Kansas Department for Children and families and was appointed by the Trump Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Republican insiders say the two may well be the most qualified to seek the Republican nomination among those rumored to be contenders for the post, but Schmidt by far has the highest name recognition. The configuration of the 2nd District also deletes Johnson, Wyandotte, much of the City of Lawrence and Manhattan, areas that were solidly blue in the governor’s race.

Both candidates’ announcements focused on the national decay Republicans contend has shadowed the Biden presidency and their pledge to stand with other Republicans and Red States against it. 

“President Biden and the radicals he enables have unleashed a dangerous agenda on our country,” Schmidt said. “Those of us who represent Kansas conservative values need to stand up and fight back. In congress, I will work to secure our border, fight overreach from a federal government that doesn’t understand or respect our way of life, and stop the federal government from making daily life increasingly expensive and difficult.”

 Schmidt pledged support for the style of government he said he hopes will be rekindled with the re-election of Donald trump.

 “My steady guidepost will be what is best for the people of the Second District and for America,” Schmidt said. “These past four years have made clear that America was stronger when President Trump served in the White House, and I look forward to working with him and others next year –  yes, to truly make America great again.”

Kahrs was clear as well in his attack on Biden policies he said have to be brought to an end.

“I will fight to stop the flood of illegal aliens, drugs and sex trafficking that’s coming across our Southern border,” Kahrs said. “I will work to rein in federal spending, reduce the deficit and slow inflation. I’ll be a powerful voice to restore our culture from one that aborts and mutilates children to one that honors the Lord and supports families.”

“I want my children to inherit the same free and prosperous country that my parents left to my generation, but we have work to do to make that a reality,” he said. “Our nation is in peril. We have an open border, staggering debt, runaway inflation and a culture that celebrates sexual deviance and destruction of the family.”

The filing deadline for the seat is June 3 with the primary falling on August 6. So far two unknown Democrats, Joseph Swain and Eli Woody, have also declared for the office.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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