Sen. Gene Suellentrop indicates he will resign in early January, caucus says

  • In US
  • 2022-11-28 21:05:46Z
  • By The Topeka Capital-Journal

Sen. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, made infamous by his DUI arrest in Topeka last year, has indicated he will resign his Senate, a spokesperson for Senate Republicans said.

Mike Pirner, a spokesperson for Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, confirmed that Suellentrop has indicated he will resign his seat in "early January" but provided no further details or statement on the matter.

Deb Lucia, chair of the Sedgwick County Republican Party, confirmed she had received confirmation that Suellentrop had resigned Monday.

Suellentrop did not immediately return a phone call and emails seeking comment.

Suellentrop has had a longtime presence in Topeka. He was first elected to the Kansas House before moving to the Senate in 2016 and eventually rising to the rank of majority leader in 2021.

His time in leadership, however, was short-lived. Suellentrop was arrested in March of that year and charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving after driving the wrong way down Interstate 70 in Topeka.

Police records later showed Suellentrop's blood-alcohol level was over twice the legal limit and the arresting officer claimed Suellentrop called him "donut boy."

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Suellentrop pled no contest to the DUI and reckless driving charges in October and served two days in jail over the matter. A judge granted him early release from probation in July, Shawnee County court records show.

More:Sen. Gene Suellentrop to serve two days in jail with more probation in plea deal over DUI incident

Local Republican Party officials in Sedgwick County would pick Suellentrop's replacement, with Lucia saying in an email that such a move must occur by Dec. 19.

At least one candidate has emerged for the seat, one with deep ties to Masterson. Chase Blasi, formerly Masterson's chief of operations, confirmed in a press release that he would be seeking the seat.

Blasi served in the Senate President's office for four years, first under former Senate President Susan Wagle before continuing on with Masterson. He left the Senate in July for a position with Evergy.

"I am running for this position, not because of any personal ambition, but because I am dismayed at the direction of this country and this state," Blasi said. "We can, and for our children's sake, we must do better."

Suellentrop's resignation will mean that each of the four lawmakers arrested over the last 18 months will no longer be in their seats for the 2023 legislative session.

More:These 3 Kansas lawmakers have withstood legal troubles. Can they survive primary challenges?

Three members of the Kansas House who were arrested in 2021 lost their primary elections. Rep. Aaron Coleman, D-Kansas City, was given diversion in Johnson County for misdemeanor domestic battery against his brother last year and lost to Melissa Oropeza in the primary.

Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville, lost to Carrie Barth in the primary after pleading guilty to three charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from an incident where he allegedly assaulted two students while substitute teaching in Wellsville.

And Rep. Suzi Carlson, R-Clay Center, was defeated by Bill Bloom in the primary after being arrested in Topeka for driving under the influence in January. She later received diversion.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: After DUI arrest, Republicans say Sen. Gene Suellentrop to resign


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