JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - The outcome of the Kansas primaries made national headlines Wednesday, with conservatives winning the Republican nomination in seven out of eight Kansas Senate seats Tuesday night.
In Kansas, the Republican party is split. On Tuesday night, it got even more divided. Conservative candidates one after another celebrated victory over moderates in the same party.
Conservative Republicans have now set themselves up to seize control of the state Senate and to team up with Governor Sam Brownback next legislative session.
Greg Smith, one Tuesday's primary winners, said with a grin, "This is what we've all been working for is to get a conservative majority in the Senate."
Pundits said a conservative majority in the Senate, House and Governor's office means a clear path to push more tax cuts, pro-life issues and many worry more cuts to school funding.
Many moderates and union groups began to warn that the biggest impact will be on Kansas schools and classrooms.
Nancy Fritz with the Kansas National Education Association said, "We have some thoughts and concerns because of what moderates have said. If they cut anymore it's going to hurt the learning environment of our students."
Even teacher supply stores said they have seen an increase in teachers using their own money to make up for just basic school supplies.
Lori Durie, an employee at The Learning Tree, explained teacher purchases, "It's flash cards, math games and its tools for teaching."
When funds were cut two years ago, the KNEA said schools thinned out as much as they could; fewer custodians, librarians, schools and teachers.
However, they worry about last year's biggest tax cut in Kansas' state history.
If projected states revenues do not come in as predicted by the Governor's office, the state's biggest part of the budget, education, will get slashed again.
Republican Kansas Senate nominee Jim Denning said, "They know when there's a recession decrease, administrators and teachers know they have to take less."
But conservatives were quick to add that is not a part of the plan as of today.
Denning debunked any plans of immediate school cuts, "That's a bunch of hooey. The Governor's very clear, we're clear. We're not going to cut schools in a non recessionary environment."
Smith, one of the seven new Kansas Senator-elects who is also a Shawnee Mission schools teacher, said, "I'm a public school teacher. I'm not going to do anything to damage public education."
An enormous amount of money was poured into the state primary races.
Teachers' unions gave moderates hundreds of thousands of dollars, out spending donors like the Koch brothers for conservative candidates.
The money paved the way for one of the most dramatic overturns in any state legislature.
While the primary results give an indication of where the Kansas Senate is headed, we will not know for sure until after the general election in November.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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