Following Denning’s vote to sustain Brownback veto on tax bill, McGuire announces intent to run for Senate seat in 2020

Don McGuire (right) and Jim Denning at a candidate forum last fall.
Don McGuire (right) and Jim Denning at a candidate forum last fall.

The dust has barely settled from one of November’s closest legislative races, and already the losing party has signaled plans to mount a new effort for the seat.

Democrat Don McGuire on Thursday issued a statement indicating he plans to “run against Sen. Jim Denning” in 2020 for the District 8 seat. That is, of course, assuming Denning plans to seek a third term in the Senate, which is far from a certainty.

Nevertheless, McGuire used Denning’s vote Wednesday to sustain Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of the tax reform bill passed out of the House and Senate earlier this week as impetus for getting an early jump on the next election cycle.

“Denning has demonstrated a real lack of leadership with his recent votes against a tax plan that would have made more Kansans pay their fair share and would have been the first step to getting Kansas back on track to being more fiscally responsible,” McGuire said in a release.

Denning indicated during the campaign that he felt compelled to run for a second term to complete “unfinished business” related to the structural stability of the state’s finances, and was an outspoken proponent of the idea of closing the LLC loophole. But he balked at the tax reform package sent to Gov. Brownback’s desk this week, saying that the fact it would have retroactively taxed Kansans’ paychecks from Jan. 1 onward made it untenable.

“I did everybody a favor, actually,” the Kansas City Star reports Denning saying of his vote against the veto override.

Denning beat McGuire in November with 53 percent of the vote to McGuire’s 47 percent. Only the District 10 race between incumbent Mary Pilcher Cook and Vicki Hiatt was closer among Johnson County senate contests, with Pilcher Cook earning another term by beating Hiatt 51-49.