Ag Policy Blog

Kansas Congressman Loses GOP Primary

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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The incumbent GOP congressman in one of the largest agricultural districts in the country was ousted in his primary Tuesday.

Three-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp of the Kansas First Congressional District lost to fellow Republican Roger Marshall, a physician. Just after 10 p.m. Central when most state media and Marshall's campaign declared him the victor. Shortly later, results of roughly two-thirds of the precincts in the district had Marshall ahead by roughly 11,000 votes.

The district is heavily Republican so the primary winner can basically start measuring curtains for congressional office.

People on social media suggested Huelskamp lost because he bucked the Washington establishment, but Huelskamp's abrasive personality was often cited throughout his time in the state legislature, in Washington, and in his district.

“I think his personality is the underlying issue,” said Patrick Miller, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, told McClatchy newspapers about Huelskamp. “He has a combative, often controversial, sometimes divisive approach to politics that doesn’t sit well with some Republicans.”…

Agricultural groups joined to back Marshall over Huelskamp, at least partially because they believed Huelskamp was ineffective representing the district on agriculture and rural issues. Huelskamp had been a member of the House Agriculture Committee, but lost his committee seat because of his constant battles with House GOP leaders.

Huelskamp had asked House leaders to reinstate him to the Ag Committee before Congress recessed. It was unclear any committee members had supported Huelskamp's request.

The Kansas First Congressional District is the #1 congressional district in the country for value of livestock sold, according to the 2012 Ag Census. The district is the third-ranked congressional district nationally for all agricultural products sold. Needless to say, it stuck in people's craw that Huelskamp was not only kicked off the House Agricultural Committee, but also voted against the 2014 farm bill.

Marshall got backing from the Kansas Farm Bureau, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Jay Mcginnis
8/4/2016 | 5:12 PM CDT
The GOP may not be better then the DEMs in spending but they are sure better at giving tax cuts to the billionaires! Let's be real, you need the income that we had before the BUSH tax cuts which the GOP refused to allow to expire! The ones reaping the greatest subsidies are the top 2%, make them pay their fair share!!!!
8/3/2016 | 6:27 AM CDT
Huelskamp believes that US Government spending is out of control. He stuck to his guns. He has been defeated. The GOP is no better than the Democrats in regard to out of control spending. Mr. Huelskamp fought this status quo and got sideways with then-Speaker Boehner. You failed to point this out in the article, Chris.