By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
U.S. Congressman-elect Tim Huelskamp submitted his resignation from the Kansas State Senate to the state secretary of state’s office last Thursday.
Now, the process has begun to find a replacement for his vacated seat, and local and area precinct committee members will get to vote on that Monday.
The Dodge City House and Hotel Convention Center will host the convention, and Seward County Republican Chairman Reid Petty explained the process of finding the next senator for the 38th District Tuesday at an informal meeting of the local group.
“To be an official candidate, you have to be nominated from the floor by a precinct committee member,” he said. “There’ll be about 150 from all the counties that are in the 38th District, including Seward County with just more than 40. Once a person’s nominated, they have to get a second. Once they’ve got a second, they’re an official candidate.”
Petty said following nominations, the people who nominated the candidates, as well as the candidates themselves, will get a chance to speak.
“Then there’s going to be a question and answer forum, and then the precinct members will vote,” he said. “Some members will carry proxies with them. You can carry up to two. I’ll be carrying two myself. However, my vote is how they’ll vote as well. As a precinct member, you know that if you send your proxies with a person that their vote will be your vote as well.”
The 38th District includes Seward County, Ford County and Meade County and parts of Haskell, Clark and Gray counties. Petty said once a person is appointed for the senate seat, that nomination will go to the governor’s office for sign off, but he said the precinct committee’s decision is final.
“(The governor) can make it official with their signature, but if they choose not to sign off on that person, that person still becomes the state senator-elect,” he said.
Petty said Monday’s vote will be a private ballot, and the results will be announced that night.
One of the people expected to run for the senate seat is Kansas Representative-elect Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), who announced last week he will seek the seat. Love will likely face a rematch with the man he replaced in the Kansas House – former speaker Melvin Neufeld (R-Ingalls).
Petty said should Love win, the representative-elect will have to resign his seat, and the process by which Huelskamp is being replaced will be repeated to find a new representative.
“There’ll be 10 days from the moment he resigns,” Petty said. “That is the soonest they can have a convention. The Ford County chairman said if Garrett were to win, they would have a convention as soon as possible right at that 10-day point.”