Party-switching lawmaker abandons bid for Kansas Senate seat

January 21, 2020 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A lawmaker who made national headlines for switching to the Democratic Party has ended her campaign for a state Senate seat and will run for re-election to the House instead.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park said Tuesday that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly encouraged her last week to drop out of the Senate race.

Clayton’s decision to run for the Senate had set up an August primary contest with Ethan Corson of Fairway. Corson is a former executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party.

Campaign finance reports filed by the candidates last week showed that Corson raised nearly $74,000 between launching his campaign in October and the end of last year. Clayton launched her campaign in November and raised less than $14,000 by the end of the year.

Kelly issued a statement calling Clayton “a strong voice in the House.” Clayton is serving her fourth term.

Corson is running for the seat held by Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Both Clayton and Bollier were elected as state lawmakers as moderate Republicans but switched parties in December 2018. Clayton cited her dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump as a factor.