August 7, 2012
Sedgwick County will have new representation in the State Senate.
Veteran Republican Senators Jean Schodorf and Dick Kelsey were defeated in Tuesday's primary election. Schodorf lost to Wichita City Council member Michael O'Donnell by more than eight hundred votes. Schodorf has held the seat since 2001 and served 12 years on the Wichita school board. But O'Donnell had the backing of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and benefited from independent advertising by the anti-tax, small-government group Americans for Prosperity.
O'Donnell was elected to the city council in 2011, and he also works as communications director for companies operated by Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010. On the Democratic side, Timothy Snow, a former small business owner from Wichita, led in final, unofficial results.
Kelsey lost to State Rep. Dan Kerschen by nearly 1,000 votes.
The Wichita Chamber of Commerce's political action committee urged voters to vote for the challengers in the primary. A PAC spokesman said the challengers would do more to help businesses and cut taxes. The PAC also endorsed Gary Mason over State Senator Carolyn McGinn. McGinn defeated Mason by 900 votes.
McGinn has served in the Senate since 2005 and has been chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee for the past two years. There are no Democrats or minor party candidates for the seat in the November general election.
Campaign finance records show that through late July, McGinn raised $133,000 for her campaign, about $60,000 more than Mason.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.