4th Kansas lawmaker switches to Democratic Party

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Clayton (left) and Sykes | Topeka Capital-Journal Clayton (left) and Sykes | Topeka Capital-Journal
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

The Latest on moderate Republicans in the Kansas legislators switching parties (all times local):

10 a.m.

A Kansas state senator has switched to the Democratic Party to become the fourth moderate suburban Kansas City lawmaker to leave the Republican Party in a week.

State Sen. Dinah Sykes of Lenexa said Wednesday that she could either fight to change the GOP or fight for her constituents. She won her seat in 2016.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park also switched parties Wednesday. Clayton was first elected to the House in 2010 and said she could best support public schools by becoming a Democrat.

The GOP's majorities slip to 84-41 in the House and 28-11 in the Senate, with one independent there.

Last week, state Sen. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills and departing Rep. Joy Koesten of Leawood also switched to the Democratic Party.

9:35 a.m.

A Kansas House member has switched to the Democratic Party to become the third moderate suburban Kansas City lawmaker to leave the Republican Party within a week.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park said Wednesday that she believes she can better support public education as a Democrat. Clayton has been an outspoken GOP moderate who was first elected to the House in 2010.

Clayton has been a strong advocate of government transparency measures and an organizer of a bipartisan Women's Caucus.

The GOP's House majority will slip to 84-41.

Sen. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills and Rep. Joy Koesten of Leawood switched to the Democratic Party last week.

Clayton won re-election this year, but Koesten lost her GOP primary and leaves office in January. Bollier's four-year term goes through 2020.