Retiring GOP Kan. lawmaker endorses Democratic nominee

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) - A moderate GOP Kansas state senator has endorsed the Democratic candidate over a conservative Republican in a Kansas City-area district.

Sen. John Vratil, of Leawood, has served in the chamber since 1998 but isn't seeking re-election. He's the Senate vice president.

Vratil said Wednesday he supports Democrat Mike Delaney of Overland Park in the 11th Senate District race because he views Delaney as a strong supporter of public schools.

Delaney is running against conservative Republican Jeff Melcher of Leawood, who has the backing of Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Melcher said Vratil's action confirms that he and his moderate allies are out of step with most Republicans.

In the Aug. 7 GOP primary, Melcher defeated Vratil's preferred candidate, state Rep. Pat Colloton of Leawood.

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