Precinct committees will elect replacement.
The 113th District Republican Precinct Committee members will gather in Pratt next week to elect a replacement for 113th District Representative Basil Dannebohm who resigned his position Feb. 24 because of health reasons.
Precinct members will meet 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at the Pratt Community Center. The public is invited to attend the convention but only precinct committee members will vote on the replacement. A simple majority is needed for election, said Pratt County Republican Party Chair Linda Hoeme, who has held that position since August 2014.
The 113th District includes all of Pratt and Stafford counties plus portions of Barton, Pawnee and Rice counties. The election is being held in Pratt County because Pratt has the largest population of any town in the district, Hoeme said.
At the convention, the county chairs will decide who will chair the convention. County chairs are: Pratt County-Linda Hoeme, Barton County-Dick Friedeman, Pawnee County-Stanley Bryant, Rice County-Pamela Minix and Stafford County-Kurt Fairchild.
The five county area has 67 precinct committee members that are elected officials. In the event a committee member is unable to attend the election, they can vote by proxy.
Precinct members will interview the candidates and then vote on a replacement representative.
Currently, two candidates have chosen to run: former 113th District Representative Marshall Christmann and new-comer Greg Lewis from the St. John area. Christmann served as District 113 Representative for one term then ran for the Kansas Senate but did not win.
Candidate Lewis will be in Pratt today meeting with precinct committee people in the district so they can get to know him and discuss the issues.
When a legislator resigns during a term, the precinct committee members have just 21 days to elect a replacement from the time of resignation. Committee members have to be notified and there has to be 10 days between the notification and the election.
Once the new Representative has been elected, the committee has 24 hours to file that information.
Kansas Sen. Mitch Holmes, District 33, said he would not be surprised if there were more candidates before the election on March 12.
Whoever is elected will have a disadvantage when he or she takes over the office. Dannebohm resigned on Feb. 24, “turnaround day” in the Kansas Legislature, when bills have to swap between House and Senate so the opposite Legislative branch can work on the bills.
When a legislator comes in at mid-term, especially if they are new, they have missed orientation and other important elements extended to freshmen legislators.
“People tell me they really wish they had run rather than come in mid stream,” Holmes said.
Holmes said he enjoyed getting to know Dannebohm, thought he had a lot of potential and was sorry things worked out the way they did.
Efforts to reach Dannebohm for comment were unsuccessful.