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Kansas governor candidate hopes to find support among women

August 5, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The only woman in the five-way Democratic primary race for Kansas governor hopes that female voters will make their voices heard during the upcoming primary.

State Sen. Laura Kelly is hoping that women will support her when they go to the polls Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported . It will be the Democrats’ first primary for governor in Kansas in two decades.

“I think this all sort of started bubbling up with the Women’s March right after the inauguration, and the momentum has just kept going,” Kelly said when asked about the role of women in the primary.

Women typically make up 55 to 60 percent of the Democratic primary electorate nationally, said Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas. Female candidates have won two-thirds of primary races when there’s no Democratic incumbent, he said.

“Democratic women seem more acutely aware than normal right now about the underrepresentation in politics,” he said.

That frustration could be tied to President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric about women, Miller said.

Women are also feeling threatened by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court, which could put abortion rights in jeopardy, Kelly said.

“And so I think what you’re seeing — and this is all over the country and all over Kansas — they’re sick and tired of not being heard, so they’re out there making their voices heard,” she said.

Women make up 28 percent of the Kansas Legislature, a slightly lower percentage than in the early 1990s. Kansas hasn’t had a female statewide elected official since January 2015, when Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger retired.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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