(An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Doll was removed from committees. He actually gave up those posts.)
State Sen. John Doll, a one-time Democrat, started the week as a Republican holding leadership posts on influential legislative committees.
Then he agreed to be a candidate for lieutenant governor running in the second spot on an independent ticket with Johnson County businessman Greg Orman.
That required him to change his party affiliation from Republican to independent, which in turn, according to Senate rules, made him ineligible to hold GOP seats on legislative committees.
Citing those rules, Doll resigned Wednesday as vice-chair of the education and transportation committees in a letter to Senate President Susan Wagle. He also relinquished posts on several other committees, including a coveted seat on the Ways and Means budget-writing panel.
In the letter, Doll asked Senate leaders to give him new committee assignments stating that the change in party affiliation enhanced his ability to “be a productive legislator.”
“As the upper chamber’s only independent member, I fully intend to continue to be a strong voice for bipartisan cooperation and reform,” Doll wrote.
In a memo released to the media late Wednesday, Wagle, a Wichita Republican, ordered Doll’s removal from his previous assignments but made no mention of new ones.
Committee assignments or not, Doll said in an interview that he’ll remain in the Senate unless and until an Orman victory requires him to resign his seat to serve as lieutenant governor.
“I want to be very clear on this, I’m [still] the senator for the 39th District,” the Garden City legislator said. “I will campaign but I won’t step back from being the best senator I can possibly be.”
Jim McLean is managing director of KMUW's Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics in Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @jmcleanks.
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