Sen. Dinah Sykes files for re-election to District 21 seat, setting up contested race

Sen. Dinah Sykes has filed to run for re-election to her District 21 seat. File photo.

First-term incumbent Sen. Dinah Sykes announced on Friday that she was filing for reelection to her District 21 seat in the 2020 cycle.

Sykes was one of the three Shawnee Mission area legislators who switched party affiliation from Republican to Democrat ahead of the 2019 session.

In her reelection announcement, she said she had initially run for the statehouse out of a desire to stabilize the state’s finances following the enactment of the tax cuts signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“Our state was the laughingstock of the nation and an example of what not to do,” Sykes said. “I knew that we had to choose: we could continue the failed experiment, or we could end it and adequately fund education, keep safe roads, and stabilize our state budget.”

She said Kansas has gotten back on a better track since then, and that she wants to continue to see it stay on that path.

“As a state, we are making progress. We are investing in child welfare, higher education, and closing the ‘Bank of KDOT.’ Combined with the smart leadership of our Governor, pragmatic voices inside the legislature are more important than ever,” she said. “I’m running as a Democrat—my priorities remain the same. I will continue to work hard to represent the people of Kansas Senate District 21.”

Republican Tom Bickimer announced in September that he was filing to run for the District 21 seat. Asked for comment on Sykes’ re-election announcement, Bickimer said that he was “looking forward to running against Sen. Sykes.”

Sykes and her husband Jeffrey are parents to two teenaged sons.