Reaction by Democrats to a primary election that saw conservative law makers lose Tuesday was, in one word, quite predictable.

The state Democratic office issued a press release with some real gems, inlcuding “Kansans made clear that they are ready for change in the state's leadership. Several of Sam Brownback's closest Republican incumbent allies in the legislature have faced defeat as the results rolled in.”

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce was among the defeated. Besides Bruce, the conservative senators who were unseated were Tom Arpke, of Salina; Forrest Knox, of Altoona; Jeff Melcher, of Leawood; Larry Powell, of Garden City; and Greg Smith, of Overland Park. All are Brownback allies.

At least five conservative Republicans in the House lost seats as well, all of them in Johnson County. They were Rob Bruchman of Leawood, Brett Hildabrand of Shawnee, Jerry Lunn of Overland Park, Charles Macheers of Shawnee and Craig McPherson of Overland Park.

Those lawmakers are now sitting on the sidelines, and the question is not only why but what effect those losses will have. Those are key questions to answer for the upcoming general election. If Republican voters are giving a rebuke to the overall policies of Gov. Sam Brownback — and with the one of the lowest approval rates in the nation that is plausible — then Brownback allies should be very worried as they prep for the general election.

That idea has Democrats excited.

However, Republicans have such large margins in both legislative chambers that they are likely to retain significant majorities after the November election.  

Brownback's election as governor in 2010 pushed the state's politics hard to the right, and his allies ousted many of the Legislature's moderates in 2012. Moderates appear to have made up some ground this week. It is plausible that Democrats could make up more ground in November.

 

— Kansan Editorial Board