If you are basking in that post-election serenity of not having your mailbox filled with direct mail suggestions on how to vote, and you no longer have campaign flyers falling out from behind the screen door when you are trying to get the groceries into the house, well, congratulations.
Because the real voting is going to start quickly for the folks who got elected to the Kansas House and Kansas Senate and who also maybe are wondering — now that U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, the three-term Republican congressman from the mostly Republican and mostly Wichita Fourth Congressional District, has been tapped by Donald Trump as Central Intelligence Agency chief — whether they’d like to take that congressional job.
This second round of elections are the ones that Statehouse insiders are watching now that the voting public has done its job. This second round of elections is going to determine whether lobbyists will be able to get what their clients want, or at least keep their clients from being damaged in the upcoming legislative sessions.
The Senate and House will elect a president — most likely re-elect Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita — and the House will elect a successor to retiring Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell.
Those leadership posts will largely define the future of the state. It’s those leaders who select chairs of committees, who can generally decide whether bills are seriously considered or even make it out of the committee for debate in the full chamber. That committee-level power to move or stall bills is mightily important for supporters or opponents of bills.
The campaigning is already under way by candidates for leadership slots, who are sifting through the existing members to secure their votes and trying to make friends with the nearly 50 new legislators to win their votes.
How do you campaign to those new members for their vote when the leadership elections are held by Republican and Democratic caucuses on Dec. 5?
Well, you can hear what those new members want and tell them you can be very helpful in giving them a win to take back to their districts at the next election, or you can hand out committee leadership or at least membership slots on committees they have interest in, or you can even give them a Statehouse office with a window or a parking slot in the underground garage closer to the door.
There are lots of tricks and treats that leadership can dole out for votes. And, it has already started.
But those leaders also will be key to the relationship of the Legislature to the governor. They can sing along with the governor’s budget and policy proposals … or not. Yes, those leadership elections are going to be a key to what good or bad happens to Kansans.
And … the Pompeo deal? Well, if he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the top CIA job — and not a minute before — he will resign his newly won congressional seat, and it is up for grabs in a special election this spring.
That race to succeed Pompeo has just started; nearly every politician in the 4th District is considering the possibilities. Each party will nominate a candidate at specially-called conventions of their 4th District Committee members. That’s whoever can get a majority of those 166 Republicans in their district committee and for Democrats a majority of the roughly 50 members of their committee.
For a job as congressman/woman, those are pretty small groups to campaign to for a slot on the special election ballot next spring.
Think you’ve seen the end of politicking for the next couple years? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t …
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka, MARTIN HAWVER is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report.
To learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com