State Rep. John Doll, R-Garden City, is considering challenging State Sen. Larry Powell, R-Garden City, for the Senate District 39 seat in the 2016 election.
Doll has appointed his wife, Janet Doll, temporary treasurer of an exploratory campaign, which will allow him to raise money while learning what support exists to challenge Powell.
Doll said he plans to talk to a lot of people this month, both in Garden City and throughout the district, who have complained about the direction the Senate is headed.
ďIt will be a hard race, a brutal race. So for me to put myself and my family through something like that, Iím going to have to make sure Iíll have some support. Thatís why Iím doing it this way,Ē Doll said on Thursday. ďIíll reevaluate it the first of May to see if itís something I really want to do. At this time, I really do, but weíll see what happens.Ē
District 39 includes Finney, Haskell, Grant, Stanton, Morton, Stevens, Kearny, Hamilton, Wichita and Greeley counties.
Doll, a former Garden City mayor and commissioner, is in his second term in the statehouse. Powell won the Senate seat in 2012, defeating Republican moderate Steve Morris of Hugoton, 51.8 percent to 48.1 percent in the August primary. Powell had no challenger in the general election.
When contacted, Powell said he was aware of Dollís potential challenge but had no comment about it.
Doll said heís considering the challenge because he feels many of Powellís votes donít reflect the best interests of western Kansas.
ďThereís been several, but the final straw was the block grant. We had every school in western Kansas coming up and seeing us or calling us (opposed to it). His vote on the budget, the 2012 tax bill, he continues to support. The direction weíre going, I donít think itís sustainable. In the Senate, your vote counts about three times as much as in the House,Ē Doll said.
Though Doll, like former Sen. Morris, is a moderate, right now Doll likes his chances to unseat Powell based on the backlash heís heard from people about Powell. But he expects he will have a good idea of the level of support in a few weeks.
ďI wouldnít even do this if I didnít think I had a good chance of winning,Ē he said. ďWhen I come back for veto session, Iíll have a good idea. I would think in three weeks, I will know whether Iím going to run or not.Ē