Blaine Finch, Kansas Representative from Ottawa was selected for the third-ranking spot in the House, Finch was selected speaker pro-tem over Kyle Hoffman of Coldwater on a 56-28 vote and had the backing of conservatives and moderates.
Republican Ron Ryckman retained the top political position in the Kansas House in voting Monday that led to insurgent candidates ousting both the GOP majority leader and Democratic minority leader in the chamber.
Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, received 80 of 84 votes from his peers to secure the job of House speaker during the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions. He was nominated by a pair of conservatives, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, of Wichita, and Rep. Shannon Francis, of Liberal.
Ryckman easily defeated the challenge posed by Rep.-elect Owen Donohoe, a Shawnee Republican to the right of Ryckman. Donohoe nominated himself, but had such thin support no representative seconded his nomination.
New and returning GOP members in attendance at the Capitol elected conservative Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, to serve as House majority leader rather than incumbent Don Hineman, a moderate Republican from Dighton. Rep. Ron Highland, R-Wamego, dropped out of contention Sunday night.
The emergence of Hawkins signaled the House GOP leadership could reflect a more urban perspective and pose a formidable obstacle to portions of Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s agenda after sworn into office in January. Kelly made Medicaid expansion one of her top priorities in the campaign, while Hawkins for years stood in opposition to broadening eligibility for Affordable Care Act provisions.
Democrats meeting elsewhere in the Statehouse chose Wichita Rep. Tom Sawyer to replace House Minority Leader Jim Ward, also of Wichita.
Tim Carpenter of the Topeka Capital-Journal contributed to this report.