Late last month the Johnson County Republican Party elected Mike Jones as its new chair. Jones takes over for Theresa Seagraves, who stepped up to fulfill the remainder of former chair Ronnie Metsker’s term when he was appointed Johnson County Election Commissioner in January.
Jones, a longtime party volunteer who has been active in grassroots groups like the Northeast Johnson County Conservatives, challenged Democratic incumbent Nancy Lusk for the District 22 seat in the House of Representatives back in 2014, falling 52-48. He said that he was impressed by the work of the county party’s previous leaders, but saw an opportunity to improve the party’s on-the-street operations, which compelled him to seek the leadership role.
“One of the biggest complaints I’ve received from candidates and legislators this year is that the volunteer base is down, Jones said. “Over the last three election cycles Republicans have had a great deal of success and it’s important that we don’t become complacent with that success. Politics in Kansas has been much like a pendulum and for us to continue to maintain the success we’ve had we need to double down on our efforts to talk to voters at their door.”
Jones defeated Mike Kuckelman, who has served as the group’s treasurer the past eight years, in an election among county party members to select the new chair Oct. 20.
Jones said he has been drawn to the Kansas Republican party based on its platform, which reflect his views “both morally and fiscally.” He says he believes many of the things Republican stand for are under attack both at the national and local level.
“Too often those who are elected feel that once they have be placed in a position of representation that they have to convince people they know what’s best and we should fall in line behind them,” he said. “My feeling is I have been elected to represent people who have joined our party because of our platform and the things we stand for. It’s my responsibility to fall in line with them and protect and honor that which caused us to become Republicans in the first place.”