TOPEKA, Kan. — Republicans maintained their sizeable voter-registration advantage over Democrats in Kansas in recent months, but the state also saw a small increase in unaffiliated voters, new figures from the secretary of state's office showed Tuesday.
The office released preliminary statewide totals the day after the deadline for registering ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election. Final figures are expected next week.
Republicans enjoy nearly a 20 percentage-point registration advantage — 44.1 percent to 24.3 percent — and roughly the same edge they had on March 1. The total number of registrations increased by about 6,600, or 0.4 percent, to more than 1.73 million.
The GOP sustained its margin despite Democrats' strong criticism of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and questions about whether aggressive personal income taxes enacted at his urging are stimulating economic growth as promised or jeopardizing the state's finances. With campaign activity intensifying, Brownback and other Republicans are vocal in attacking Democratic President Barack Obama and policies unpopular in GOP-leaning Kansas.
"The Republican brand is still as strong as it was," said Clay Barker, the Kansas Republican Party's executive director. "There hasn't been any significant change in momentum for a few years now."
The number of registered Republicans grew by about 700 since March 1, to nearly 765,000, while the number of Democrats declined by about 1,200, to about 422,000.
Meanwhile, the number of unaffiliated voters increased by about 7,200, or 1.4 percent, to 535,000. They are now 30.8 percent of registered voters, a little higher than on March 1.
Kansas Democratic Party spokesman Dakota Loomis said it has been focused on ensuring that people who are registered go to the polls. He also said the lack of a big shift in registration percentages doesn't signal voter satisfaction with Brownback.
"Registration has more to do with, you know, traditionally what you've registered as, your family, and less to do with the politicians you support," Loomis said.
Libertarians saw a nearly 3 percent increase in their registrations, up almost 400 to about 12,600. Their percentage of the total is about 0.7 percent.
The registration figures don't include 19,400 new voters whose registrations are on hold as of Wednesday because they've failed to comply with a state law requiring them to provide documentation of their U.S. citizenship.
Kansas Republican Party: http://www.ksgop.org
Kansas Democratic Party: https://www.ksdp.org/home
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