Jim Barnett (politician)

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Jim Barnett
Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 17 district
In office
January 8, 2001 – October 1, 2010
Succeeded by Jeff Longbine
Personal details
Born c. 1955
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Yvonne Barnett
Children Blake Barnett, Chelsea Barnett
Residence Emporia, Kansas
Religion Baptist

Jim Barnett is an American Republican politician who is a former State Senator for Kansas' 17th District, which is centered around Emporia. On August 1, 2006 Barnett won the Kansas Republican Gubernatorial Primary. Barnett faced the incumbent Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius in the general election on November 7, 2006 and was unsuccessful in his bid as Sebelius was reelected for a 2nd term.

On June 2, 2009, Barnett announced that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the United States Congress from the first district of Kansas.[1] On August 3, 2010, Barnett lost the Republican nomination to fellow state senator Tim Huelskamp. Barnett subsequently resigned his state Senate seat, and resumed his medical career at a Topeka, Kansas, clinic.[2] [3]

Early life and family[edit]

A lifelong Kansan, Barnett grew up and worked on his family’s farm as a boy. He attended and graduated from Reading High School in Reading, Kansas. After completing high school, Barnett went to Emporia State University where he received a B.A. in Chemistry. After that he attended the University of Kansas Medical School where he received his Doctorate in Medicine.

After earning his doctorate, Barnett settled in Emporia, Kansas where he served as a full-time internal medicine doctor. He describes himself as a lifelong community activist; his earliest community involvement was in Emporia where he focused on improving public education. Barnett has stated that years of experience in the medical profession have created a desire to help the community.

He is also active in his local Baptist church.

Political career[edit]

Barnett's first foray into politics was in 1991 when he was first elected to the Emporia School Board of Education (USD 253). He remained in the School Board until 1999, serving as School Board President from 1993 to 1997. Also in the 1990s, Barnett became involved in the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Diversity Council where he served as Chairman and the Rotary International.

In 2000 Barnett was first elected to the Kansas State Senate as a Republican, representing the state's 17th District, which is based in Emporia and includes the surrounding areas. Barnett was re-elected in 2004.

Committee assignments[edit]

Barnett serves on these legislative committees:[4]

  • Joint Committee on Health Policy Oversight (chair)
  • Public Health and Welfare (chair)
  • Agriculture
  • Financial Institutions and Insurance
  • Organization, Calendar and Rules


Recent legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Barnett includes:

  • A bill to repeal the franchise tax[5]
  • A resolution to amend the No Child Left Behind Act[6]
  • A resolution supporting the creation of a U.S. laser defense program[7]
  • A resolution proclaiming states' rights[8]
  • A resolution to establish a budget stabilization fund[9]

Major donors[edit]

Some of the top contributors to Barnett's 2008 campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:[10]

Kansas Republican Senatorial Committee, Lincoln Village Mobile Home Park, Kansas Medical Society, Emporia Head and Neck, Kansas Optometric Association, Kansas Bankers Association

Health care and financial, insurance and real estate companies were his largest donor groups.

Campaign for Governor 2006[edit]

See Kansas gubernatorial election, 2006

In January 2006 Barnett first announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Governor of Kansas. As 2006 progressed, other candidates for the Republican nomination emerged, however none of them were able to match Barnett in campaign spending or state-wide name recognition. On August 1 Barnett secured the Republican nomination with 36% of the vote. [1] His closest competitor was author Ken Canfield, who received 26%, followed by former state House Speaker Robin Jennison, who polled 22%..

The candidates for the Republican nomination represented a wide variety of factions within the Republican party. Of the candidates, Barnett was neither a true moderate nor a true conservative, which may have helped with his win in the primary. Barnett's opponent in the general election was incumbent Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius was first elected Governor in 2002. During her time in office Sebelius has remained popular, frequently with approval ratings over 50%. Sebelius defeated Barnett on November 7, 2006, with over 58% of total votes cast.


  1. ^ Associated Press (June 2, 2009), "Barnett of Emporia files for election in Kansas’ first congressional district", Lawrence Journal-World 
  2. ^ Associated Press (September 8, 2010), "State Sen. Jim Barnett resigning", Topeka Capital-Journal 
  3. ^ Carpenter, Tim (September 14, 2010), "Barnett lands at Cotton-O'Neil", Topeka Capital-Journal 
  4. ^ Profile from the Kansas Legislature
  5. ^ SB 50
  6. ^ SR 1831
  7. ^ SR 1859
  8. ^ SR 1615
  9. ^ SR 1614
  10. ^ Jim Barnett 2008 campaign contributions

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Tim Shallenburger
Republican Party nominee for Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Sam Brownback