Republicans, Democrats preparing for possible special election

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) –  It has been more than a month since President-elect Donald Trump nominated Congressman Mike Pompeo as the next CIA Director.

If confirmed by the Senate, Pompeo will give up his congressional seat in the fourth district.

Since that announcement, both the Kansas Republican and Democratic parties have put the wheels in motion, preparing if a special election is called.

Kelly Arnold, Chairman for the Kansas Republican Party, says if a special election for Pompeo’s seat does happen, it would be the first in Kansas since the 1950’s.

“This is something that we are expecting to happen very shortly and quickly, so there is a lot of work to do in this,” said Arnold.

Arnold says he has had upwards of 30 people call him, interested in filling Pompeo’s seat.

“This is not a normal congressional election where you have a year to plan, prepare and get your candidate selected, get your message out to the members of the fourth district, it is something we have to do in a matter of weeks,” said Arnold.

As for the Kansas Democratic party, State Chairman Lee Kinch says he’s positive a special election will happen.

Kinch says in January, they’ll hold a reorganization convention to elect delegates.

“Those delegates elected will have the right to vote for our nominee,” said Kinch.

Kinch’s only worry, that there isn’t enough time for all the ballots to be mailed return.

“We’re talking about 60 days from the date of the declaration, that’s just not possible,” said Kinch.

Kinch says the legislature will be entertaining a bi-partisan bill to extend that date to more than 60 days

The hope being, to provide a sufficient length of time for those ballots to be mailed to members of the armed services, who are serving overseas, to vote and return their ballot.

The Sedgwick County Election Office is also preparing, in case a special election does happen.

Deputy Election Commissioner Rebecca Davis told KSN today they will be testing their new voting machines starting January.

Those machines were originally set to be implemented in August of next year.

Davis says this is standard for them to do this, to make sure they are working, if the special election happens.

Davis adds that they will also have 150 touchscreen machines, just as a backup plan.