Kansas 3rd District
Though its central core is in Missouri, in 2006 about 40% of metropolitan Kansas City’s residents lived west of the state line in Kansas. Some are in Kansas City, Kan., or KCK as it is sometimes called, where the low-lying land near the Missouri River used to house one of the nation’s largest stockyards. This is still a working-class town with lots of modest frame houses, new Latino neighborhoods, a large African-American community and a Catholic ethnic neighborhood. Kansas City’s Wyandotte County has lost 35,000 people since the 1970s, and is 27% black and 22% Hispanic. South of Kansas City and Wyandotte is Johnson County, which is much more affluent and more than three times the size of Wyandotte. The newer neighborhoods are arrayed along the interstates, as subdivisions have replaced croplands. They have grown to the point that Overland Park, Olathe, Shawnee and Lenexa are among the largest cities in the state. These suburbs are not just residential. The Applebee’s restaurant chain is headquartered in Lenexa, and Sprint Nextel is headquartered in Overland Park. Politically, Wyandotte County has an old Democratic-machine style of politics, though its influence has been tempered by the consolidation of city and county governments. Johnson County has long been heavily Republican, but with plenty of moderate and even liberal voters on cultural issues. It has also been a battleground for the fierce fights between the moderate and conservative wings of the Kansas Republican Party, which sometimes benefits the Democrats.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 3rd Congressional District of Kansas consists of Johnson County, Wyandotte County and a section of Douglas County to the west, including the portion of Lawrence that is home to the University of Kansas campus. Douglas County was the only one of Kansas’s 105 counties to oppose a 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The majority of the district residents live in Johnson County, which is expected to become the largest county in metropolitan Kansas City by 2023. This is an affluent metropolitan district in a historically rural state.