TOPEKA — As the state’s June 1 filing deadline for candidates came and went Wednesday, a U.S. House candidate dropped out and a U.S. Senate candidate stepped in.
Mike Pryor, 76, withdrew Tuesday from a Democratic primary in the state’s second congressional district. With the exit of Pryor, a Bernie Sanders organizer from Lawrence, the Democratic nomination likely will go to Britani Potter, a school board member from Ottawa.
Pryor and Potter were competing for the chance to face off against U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican, in November.
On his website, Pryor said he was withdrawing “at great cost and miles of grief” because of fears over possible lawsuits. He said the statement “Paid by the Committee for Mike Pryor for Congress” was printed too small on campaign cards and he didn’t disclose his website on Federal Election Commission forms.
“When one considers the cost of lawyers, legal fees and fines, the amount for which I could be liable is in excess of $150,000,” Pryor said. “I have no money; I live on a small retirement pension and Social Security.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran received a primary challenger Wednesday, the final day for filings.
D.J. Smith, a Republican from Osawatomie, will run against a sitting Republican senator for a second time.
Smith challenged U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and two other candidates for the Republican nomination in 2014, finishing in third place with 15,288 votes, or approximately 5.7 percent.
Smith served on the Osawatomie City Council and unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Kansas Legislature before her 2014 Senate run, according to her biography on a tea party website.
Smith’s filing leaves five people running for U.S. Senate. In addition to Smith and Moran are Democrats Patrick Wiesner and Monique Singh, plus Libertarian Robert Garrard.
Libertarians are running candidates in all five Kansas congressional races this year, a first for the party since 2010.
“I’m very proud of the list of candidates that we filed today,” said Rob Hodgkinson, state chairman of the Libertarian Party of Kansas, in a statement Wednesday. “The Libertarian Party have assured that every Kansan will have a third option on their ballot in the general election this November.”
The most closely watched race of 2016 is a Republican primary between U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp and challenger Roger Marshall to represent the First District. The winner of the August primary might face only one challenger in November: Kerry Burt, a Libertarian. Alan LaPolice, formerly a Republican candidate, is hoping to join the ballot as an independent.
In the Second District, Jenkins and Potter will face Libertarian James Houston Bales, a farm owner and University of Kansas law student who filed to run Tuesday.
“Eastern Kansas deserves better than the partisan politics that have created gridlock at best and been a direct blockade to success at their worst,” he said in a statement.
In the Third District, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder will face Greg Goode in a Republican primary while Democrats Jay Sidie, Reggie Marselus and Nathaniel McLaughlin run for the Democratic nomination. The winners from each primary will face Libertarian Steven Hohe in November.
In the Fourth District, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo will go unchallenged for the Republican nomination and face the victor of two Democrats: Dan Giroux and Robert Tillman. The Libertarian candidate is Gorden Bakken, Wichita, and an independent, Miranda Allen, is seeking to place her name on the ballot.
The primary election is Aug. 2. The general election will be Nov. 8.