Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Unopposed, but Still Busy ; 11 Dems, 23 GOP in House Have No Opponents

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Unopposed, but Still Busy ; 11 Dems, 23 GOP in House Have No Opponents

Article excerpt

Most candidates for the Kansas House will spend the next five months campaigning; appearing at parades and county fairs and knocking on doors in withering heat.

But for a select few, including Rep. John Alcala, the most difficult part of getting re-elected may have been the paperwork.

Alcala, D-Topeka, is one of 11 Democrats and 23 Republicans running unopposed for House seats after last week's filing deadline. He is the only one who serves Topeka.

Alcala and the others unopposed can be penciled in for two-year terms, barring an upset by an unaffiliated candidate who would have to launch a petition drive just to get on the general election ballot. But Alcala said he isn't spending the summer sitting on a couch in an air-conditioned room.

"I'll still be out there," Alcala said. "I don't take anything for granted. Running unopposed, if you don't work it just allows you the chance to be lazy, and I don't ever want to do that."

With no opponent, Alcala said his goal in going door-to-door this session will be to help residents of his 57th District get registered to vote.

Another House member running unopposed, Rep. Ron Highland, R- Wamego, said he has heard from colleagues envious of his good fortune, but he also doesn't plan to take it easy.

"I've got a few of those calls, yes," Highland said. "But I'll still be campaigning. You always have to keep your name out there."

Highland said he would spend the summer listening to constituent concerns in his district and also helping friends with their campaigns.

Jeremy "Basil" Dannebohm, a Republican from Ellinwood, is unique among the 34 running unopposed in the House in that he isn't already a sitting legislator.

Dannebohm served as a volunteer chief of staff for Rep. Marshall Christmann, R-Lyons, last session. Christmann has decided to run in the special election for the Senate seat vacated by Clark Shultz, who is running for Kansas Insurance Commissioner.

"When he chose to run for Senate, he and several of his colleagues in the House encouraged me to run (for House)," Dannebohm said.

While Christmann now finds himself in a crowded Senate race against four other Republicans, only Dannebohm filed to run for his old House seat.

Dannebohm, administrator of the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce, said he would spend some of the summer campaigning for Christmann, but needed to devote the bulk of his time to discerning the top priorities of the people he will likely represent next year.

"My agenda, if you will, is built by listening to the people in the 113th District," Dannebohm said. "So I'm going to be spending a lot of time at rotary clubs, chamber meetings, town halls or just sitting and listening to people. …

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