Ryckman family reunion: Speaker’s dad elected to Senate

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The Ryckmans will be reunited in the Legislature.

Ron Sr. and Ron Jr. will be back in the Legislature together after the elder Ryckman won a precinct election Thursday night to replace the late Bud Estes in the state Senate.

Ron Jr., of course, presides over the House as speaker. Ron Sr. will now serve across the rotunda in the state Senate.

Ron Ryckman Sr.

The elder Ron Ryckman served in the House from 2011 to 2016 before deciding not to run for reelection in House District 115 after he was hobbled by plantar fasciitis.

Ryckman, 73, headlined a field that included Joe Nuci, a city councilman from Dodge City, and Clark County farmer Gary White, who serves on the political action committee board for the Kansas Farm Bureau. The field also included Andrew Evans and Russ McBee.

Three Republican state senators – Mark Steffen, J.R. Claeys and Alicia Straub – campaigned against the elder Ryckman.

They backed Nuci, saying he opposed a mask mandate as a city council member in Dodge City and would stand up against Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and her “attempts to rule by executive order.”

“As conservative state senators from neighboring districts serving the region, we know how important it is to have a colleague in this position that serves your conservative values,” the state senators said in a letter to precinct committee members.

“Joe Nuci is the only conservative candidate in this race,” the letter stated. “And he has the record to back it up.”

It took three rounds for Ryckman to prevail in the race for the Senate District 38 seat, which represents Clark, Ford, Gray, Meade, Seward and Hodgeman counties.

Ryckman led the field with 53 votes in the first round. Nuci trailed Ryckman with 48 votes.

White came in third with 24 votes, while Evans finished with 14 votes and McBee with two.

The field was pared to four candidates in the second round. Ryckman led that round with 62 votes followed by Nuci with 60, White with 14 and Evans with four.

The field was narrowed to three in the third round. Ryckman prevailed with 78 votes to 59 for Nuci and four for White.