Republican Carolyn McGinn to seek Senate majority leader post

    Sen. Carolyn McGinn, in a July 2020 campaign ad, plans to seek selection by Republican colleagues to the leadership position of Senate majority leader. The Sedgwick farmer is chair of the Senate's budget committee. (Submitted)
    Sen. Carolyn McGinn, in a July 2020 campaign ad, plans to seek selection by Republican colleagues to the leadership position of Senate majority leader. The Sedgwick farmer is chair of the Senate's budget committee. (Submitted)

    TOPEKA — Republican Kansas Sen. Carolyn McGinn plans to be a candidate for Senate majority leader following the November election.

    She said in a letter to GOP Senate candidates that she would compete for the slot created by retirement of Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning of Johnson County. Republicans elected to the Senate will meet before the 2021 legislative session to determine who replaces Denning and who takes over for Senate President Susan Wagle. She also didn’t seek re-election.

    McGinn, a farmer from the community of Sedgwick, has represented Harvey County and northern Sedgwick County since elected to the Senate in 2005. She’s chairs the influential Senate Ways and Means Committee.

    “Our state is at a crossroads and in desperate need of real leadership,” McGinn said in the letter. “During my tenure in the Senate, I have successfully represented our Republican values in the budgeting process and led my committee with the work ethic of a Kansas farmer.

    “I have a proven record as a fair and honest chairperson, giving everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard, especially when I disagreed with them. The Legislature has taught me the value of straight talk and I know nothing else matters if you lose the trust of your colleagues. Its how I have served and how I will lead.”

    The Senate majority leader has a central role in determining what bills are taken up on the floor by all 40 members.

    In 2012, she was among Republicans targeted by Gov. Sam Brownback amid his campaign to oust moderates in the Senate. McGinn prevailed in that election.

    Republicans are certain to have a substantial majority when the 2021 session begins in January. Currently, there are 29 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the Senate.

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    Tim Carpenter
    Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.