Former Rep. Joy Koesten files to run as Democrat for Republican Sen. John Skubal’s seat

Former Republican Rep. Joy Koesten has filed to run as a Democrat for the Senate seat occupied by John Skubal, a moderate Republican. Senate District 11 mostly covers the Blue Valley area, but does include a portion north of I-435 between Metcalf and State Line Road. Submitted photo.

Joy Koesten, the former Republican state representative who switched parties after losing to current House member Kellie Warren in a 2018 primary, this week filed to run for the District 11 seat in the state Senate.

Koesten emailed supporters letting them know that she had submitted signatures with the secretary of state’s office on Tuesday with the intent of filing by petition.

Senate District 11 mostly covers the Blue Valley area, but does include a portion north of I-435 between Metcalf and State Line Road. The seat is currently held by Republican John Skubal, the former member of the Overland Park City Council who defeated incumbent Jeff Melcher in the 2016 primary. Skubal is not currently listed on the Johnson County Election Office website as having filed for re-election. (We emailed him Thursday with an invitation to comment for this story. We’ll update the piece if we hear back).

In her announcement email, Koesten detailed her motivations for running.

“My decision to run again in 2020 is driven by only one thing: to make sure we keep Kansas moving forward,” she wrote. “When I served in the Kansas House, I proudly voted to end the Brownback tax experiment so we could fund our schools, rebuild our mental health system, and stop robbing KDOT just to pay the bills. Now I’m running for Kansas Senate because we’ve worked too hard to get the state we know and love back on the right track.”
She identified five priority issues for her campaign:
  • Access to affordable healthcare and the right to make our own healthcare decisions.
  • A modern, workable tax system that works for all of us, not just some of us.
  • Continued investment in education at all levels.
  • Property tax and sales tax relief.
  • Sensible gun laws

Koesten announced her switch to affiliation with the Democrats in December 2018, part of a wave of moderate Republicans who decided to leave the party.