Super Saturday: Kansas pulls off an Oklahoma

Photo by: Sarah Pitts

Lawrence, Kan.-Voters in five states and Puerto Rico hit the polls this weekend in a blitz that rivaled Super Tuesday last week.

But clarity about who the eventual nominees will be for the Republican and Democratic parties continued to be murky. Kansas pulled off an Oklahoma, garnering a large voter turnout and awarding delegates to Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

A Wichita Eagle article earlier in the week suggested Kansas would become the new Oklahoma, at Saturday's caucuses.

Although Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump led in the polls leading up to the day of the caucus, which was also the case in Oklahoma, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders emerged as the winners in the sunflower state.

Oklahoma and Kansas relationship goes beyond simply being neighbors, both have similar racial and socioeconomic populations and a similar urban/rural area split.
Millennials in Kansas, like those in the sooner state, seemed to be "feeling the bern."

Photo by: Andrew Clark

Zora Janney, 20, student at the University of Kansas said her ideals closely align with Sanders'.

"If I didn't vote for him and didn't come out today I would be sort of like letting myself down," she said.

Fredrick Closs, IV, 34, was one of many who changed his party affiliation on Saturday from Independent to Democrat. Closs was inspired to vote for Sander's after going to one of his rallies.

For 21-year-old Lane Frazier, a history student at KU, Sanders' policies on education and healthcare hit close to home. Frazier had kidney problems and owed more than $1,000, despite having health insurance. He will be graduating in May with more than $30,000 in debt.

"Bernie is the candidate who cares the most about the common person," he said.

Sadie Barbee, 18, a first-time voter, changed her party affiliation to vote for Sanders' and agrees with his policy on education.

"He's wanting to make it work so that our generation can go to college, even those who can't afford it," she said.

Matthew Eagle,18, said he turned out to vote because it's important.

"I want to be a part of politics, and making sure everyone cares about who is running the country, because they represent us," he said.

Photo by: Andrew Clark

Marci Francisco, State Senator for District 2 of Kansas, witnessed a huge turnout in voters to the Democratic precinct in Lawrence, Kansas. "Almost double the number of people. Great to see the crowds," she said.

She plans to ask the Kansas Democratic Party to consider caucusing by house district, so that more precincts are added.

Dagen Reed, 23, a behavioral science student at KU, a first time caucus-goer decided to caucus because he wanted to be part of the change .

"If you want a revolution you gotta participate "

By the end of the weekend on Sunday Cruz had won the GOP caucuses in Kansas and Maine; Trump had won the Kentucky caucuses and the Louisiana primary; and on Sunday Rubio won the Puerto Rico primary. In the Democratic side, Sanders won in Kansas and Nebraska while Clinton won in Louisiana.