TOPEKA (AP) — Tea Party Rep. Tim Huelskamp filed for re-election Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District of western and central Kansas, promising to keep battling both Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration and the U.S. House’s current Republican leaders.
Huelskamp filed the necessary paperwork and paid a $1,760 fee to guarantee himself a place on the state’s Aug. 5 GOP primary ballot. The Fowler Republican is favored to win a third two-year term against two other Republicans and two Democrats seeking the seat.
Nearly 53 percent of the 1st District’s registered voters are Republicans, making it the most GOP of the four districts in the Republican-leaning state. Huelskamp has been a vocal critic of the federal health overhaul championed by Obama, the administration’s environmental policies, its oversight of veterans’ services and its handling of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
But he’s also been disapproving of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, arguing that they’re not conservative enough and don’t push back aggressively enough against the administration. At the end of 2012, Huelskamp was stripped of the state’s nearly automatic seat on the House Agriculture Committee.
Huelskamp said his constituents expect him to be an independent voice in Washington.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think parties should control the town,” Huelskamp said at a news conference after he filed at the Kansas secretary of state’s office. “I don’t think the establishment should control the town.”
In the Republican primary, Huelskamp faces former state Rep. Kent Roth, an Ellinwood attorney, and Alan LaPolice, a Clyde farmer and educator. Roth said Huelskamp is oblivious to how his “feud” with Boehner is affecting the district.
The Democratic candidates are Jim Sherow, a Kansas State University history professor and former Manhattan mayor, and Bryan Whitney, a 2013 graduate of Wichita State University from Syracuse.
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