Jason Osterhaus beats Larry Winn. The biggest 2010 upset in Kansas.

The biggest November 2 upset in the state of Kansas, and in the Greater Kansas City area, was Jason Osterhaus’ 53% to 47% defeat of Larry Winn for the Johnson County Commission.  The margin was 1400 votes.  It wasn’t even close.

There are seven county commissioners and six districts, with each district representing more voters than a Kansas Senate district.

Larry Winn probably spent about $70,000 over the course of the entire election.  Jason Osterhaus spent $10-15,000.

Larry Winn is a perfect example of a “Republican in name only”:

  • He supported Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore over Kris Kobach in the 2004 general election.
  • This year, he endorsed Democratic incumbent Lisa Benlon in Kansas House district 22 (Overland Park) over Republican challenger Greg Smith (Smith won 51-49%).
  • Larry Winn is a socialist.  Larry Winn agrees with Johnson County Republican Chair Ronnie Metsker that government should determine the educational choices for children, even though this is best determined by parents.  Larry Winn also opposes property rights.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll discuss some of the factors that led to Osterhaus’ victory.

Today, I’ll discuss the partisan breakdown of the race.

My PAC (Kansans for State and Local Reform) had endorsed Jason Osterhaus.  Throughout the election, we performed automated, push-button polls in order to both measure Osterhaus’ progress.  Our final poll was performed the day before the election, on Monday, November 1.

At the end of the day, Jason Osterhaus won because the message got communicated to voters that Jason Osterhaus was the economic conservative choice, the pro-life choice, the choice for property rights, and the Republican choice.  Consider these cross tabs from the Nov. 1 poll:

– Among Republican voters:  Discounting undecided voters, Jason Osterhaus received 64%

– Democrats: Discounting undecideds, Jason Osterhaus received 30%.

– Independents: Jason Osterhaus and Larry Winn tied at 50%, discounting undecideds.

About the poll:

  • Voters were called only if they had voted in at least two of the last three general elections (among November elections in 2008, 2006, and 2004).
  • Two-thirds of likely voters are over the age of 50.  In this particular poll, 67% of voters were over 50 (we asked in the poll if the voter was over 50 or under 50).
  • The female-to-male ratio in this poll was 56% female to 44% female (we asked if the voter was male or female).
  • Final sample size of 270 (margin of error 6.1%).
  • According to voter registration, the partisan breakdown in this poll was:  Republican (55%), Democrat (29%), Unaffiliated (16%).  I do not yet know what the final turnout breakdown was in this county commission district.


Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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