Democrat Jerry Stogsdill to shift focus to NEJC house race after Wolf bows out of senate

Jerry Stogsdill speaking with Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley at a community forum in Mission in April.
Jerry Stogsdill speaking with Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley at a community forum in Mission in April.

Sen. Kay Wolf’s decision to retire from public service instead of seeking another term has triggered a round of political musical chairs.

First, Rep. Barbara Bollier announced she would be running for Wolf’s District 7 senate seat in lieu of reelection to her District 21 House seat. Now, Democrat Jerry Stogsdill is shifting his focus from District 7 to Bollier’s House district.

Stogsdill traveled to Topeka this morning where he withdrew his name from the senate race and filed as a candidate for the District 21 house seat.

“Our initial goal was to take out a Brownback Republican from the senate,” Stogsdill said. “With Kay leaving, we have accomplished that.”

Stogsdill wasn’t shy about suggesting that his campaign’s momentum put pressure on Wolf to take her name off the ballot.

“I think it was our campaign that caused that decision,” Stogsdill said. Over the course of knocking on around 450 doors in northeast Johnson County, Stogsdill said he had encountered “a lot of anger toward the ultraconservatives and the Brownback administration. And I think Kay was part of that.”

As for Bollier, Stogsdill said he would be comfortable with her serving as the senator from the area should she be elected. But he said her moderate views would likely put her at odds with the senate leadership, and leave her relegated to not-influential committee assignments, as he suggested she had had in the House. (Bollier served on Education Budget, Elections, and Vision 2020 this past session).

“As a Democrat, I share many of those more progressive views, but I will be on House committees where my vote would actually make a difference,” he said.

With the withdrawal of 18-year-old Walter Wright from the District 21 seat, Stogsdill is currently the only announced candidate in the race. District 21 went heavily for Democrat Paul Davis in the 2014 governor’s race.