Citing moderate incumbent Tom Cox’s support for roll back of Brownback tax cuts, Republican Jim Eschrich files to run for District 17 House seat

Jim Eschrich signed papers to run for the Republican nomination for the District 17 House seat earlier this week. Submitted photo.
Jim Eschrich signed papers to run for the Republican nomination for the District 17 House seat earlier this week. Submitted photo.

There are, they say, no final victories in politics. And it appears that conservative Republicans are already mounting aggressive efforts to win back the ground they lost to moderates in Johnson County in 2016.

Shawnee resident Jim Eschrich on Monday filed to run for the District 17 House seat occupied by first-term Rep. Tom Cox. Cox, a moderate, ousted conservative Brett Hildabrand by a 62-38 margin in the 2016 primaries, and beat Democrat Helen Stoll 57-43 in the general.

But Cox’s support for a plan this past legislative session that rolled back the bulk of the income tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback in 2012 has made him a target for conservatives. According to Cox, Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group founded by Wichita’s Koch brothers in 2004, has already sent out six negative mailers attacking his record. The group’s field operations have knocked hundreds of doors in the district as well.

In his campaign announcement, Eschrich zeroed in on Cox’s support of the budget-balancing tax increases.

“I am running to unseat the incumbent state representative Tom Cox in next year’s Republican primary as he actually voted for the single largest tax increase in our state’s history and Medicaid eligibility expansion, the latter requiring still another tax increase,” Eschrich said. “Anybody want to guess how he’s going to vote on a Kansas Supreme Court-inspired education bill? I don’t think we want to wait to find out.”

Eschrich is the president of J. Eschrich Research, a market research company that specializes in qualitative research methods. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he holds a bachelor’s degree from Niagara University. He has lived in the Kansas City area since 1987.

District 17 covers parts of Lenexa, Shawnee and Lake Quivira.