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HPPR Government & Politics

After Successful 2016 Election, Kansas Democrats Hoping For More Momentum At Annual Convention

Kansas Democrats are expecting overflow crowds at their annual convention this weekend.
Kansas Democrats are expecting overflow crowds at their annual convention this weekend.

It’s been a while since Kansas Democrats had much to celebrate -- but party leaders are expecting an overflow crowd this weekend for their annual convention.

It’s been a quarter of a century since Kansas Democrats competed across the board in state and congressional races. They were nearly wiped off the political map by a conservative Republican wave that rolled through three successive election cycles starting in 2010.

That tide began to turn in 2016 when Democrats picked up 13 legislative seats.

The party’s new executive director, Ethan Corson, says anticipation that a Trump backlash could lead to more wins is fueling increases in membership, contributions and enthusiasm heading into this year’s campaign season.

“It’s off the charts," Corson says. "Every meeting I go to they have to bring out extra chairs because they’ve never had crowds this big.”

A Saturday debate featuring the party’s leading contenders for governor is expected to be among the weekend’s biggest draws.

--Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics in Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @jmcleanks.

Copyright 2018 KMUW | NPR for Wichita