O’Connor, Boyer to vie for state Senate seat
For the second-straight campaign cycle, a Republican incumbent in the Kansas 9th District Senate seat will face a primary challenge.
State Representative Rob Boyer said Monday he would seek the 9th District Kansas Senate seat currently held by Kay O'Connor of Olathe. The incumbent announced a day later that she would seek re-election.
O'Connor, an outspoken conservative whose comments have garnered statewide and national press, announced her re-election bid in a press release that said Boyer "apparently has never seen a tax he wouldn't like to raise or a fee he wouldn't like to increase."
"I am running because I want to continue to work on behalf of Kansas taxpayers and families," she wrote. "The citizens of District 9 will have a clear choice between me and my opponent, who has shown by his voting record that he is a tax-and-spender."
O'Connor, who has been one of the leading advocates for school vouchers since she was first elected to the Kansas House in 1994, said she would continue to be a "strong supporter of empowering parents to select the most excellent educational opportunities they can find for their children through school choice."
O'Connor wrote she was "also concerned that my opponent would pander to the radical pro-abortion interest groups," pointing out Boyer voted against a bill passed last session that required the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to set minimum health and safety standards for the seven Kansas clinics that perform abortions, inspect the clinics, and seek court action to force a clinic into compliance.
Backed by the support of Kansans for Life in 2000, O'Connor wrested the seat from incumbent Republican Rich Becker.
Boyer acknowledged O'Connor would be a tough opponent in the district comprising De Soto, western Lenexa and the older sections of Olathe. His task would be to overcome the historical poor turnout of moderate Republicans in Johnson County primary battles.
"It will be an uphill battle," Boyer said. "I'll run the whole race assuming I'm 10 points behind."
Boyer endorsed Tom Marsh, a fellow GOP moderate and neighbor in the Cedar Creek neighborhood of Olathe, in his race for the 38th District seat. Marsh will make a formal announcement of his candidacy next week.
Boyer won the 38th District seat in 2002 when he defeated GOP conservative Shannan Nelson of Shawnee in the primary and Eudora Democrat Carlie Abel in the general election. There was no incumbent in the race in the district newly redrawn along Kansas Highway 10 from western Shawnee and Lenexa to eastern Lawrence.
His successful 2002 campaign would serve as a blueprint for the Senate race, Boyer said.
"My focus will still be economic development, education and the responsible development of Sunflower," Boyer said.
In his freshman year in the Kansas House, Boyer was a key supporter of successful legislation that made public financing incentives possible at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant with its transfer and the Johnson County Commission's creation of a redevelopment district at the closed plant. The bill also allows the Commission to name a redevelopment authority to help guide the plant's development.
In his first session, Boyer supported the expanded use of sales tax revenue bonds as a way to attract investment in tourist and entertainment venues to the state, Boyer said.
The Olathe businessman has worked to build links among area civic leaders and organizations such as KC Catalyst that are involved in efforts to create a biotechnology corridor along Kansas Highway 10. Boyer said his advocacy of that cause included support for llife science educational initiatives like the biotech charter school Eudora USD 491 was exploring.