The four-month search for a new executive director of the Kansas Republican Party ended with hiring of the state Senate president's communications director to handle day-to-day operations of the political organization.
Shannon Golden, added to the staff of Senate President Susan Wagle in January 2018, was chosen by party officials to be part of an effort to improve delivery of the Kansas GOP's message.
Golden said the 2020 election was an opportunity to expand Republican majorities in the Kansas Legislature and to win back the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids following defeat of incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder.
"It is projected that there will be a record turnout of Kansas Republicans in the 2020 elections," Golden said. "I look forward to working with the Kansas Republican Party team and Republicans across our state to make that a reality.”
The job of executive director in Kansas had been vacant since the departure of Jim Joice in December to be a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins, the Republican who won the 2nd District race to replace retiring Lynn Jenkins. Joice was the party's executive director for less than one year.
Golden, a native of New Jersey, was added to Wagle's staff after graduating in December 2017 with a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. She was a reporter in Massachusetts and served as a district director of Indiana Millennials for Ted Cruz and as an intern for Mike Pence's gubernatorial campaign in Indiana.
The Kansas Democratic Party also is undergoing transition following the decision by Ethan Corson, the party's executive director, to step down. He was hired in August 2017 and led the party through last year's election of the first Democratic governor since 2006 and the first Democratic congressional candidate since 2008.
"We’ve strengthened the Kansas Democratic Party and positioned it for long-term success," Corson said. "Our party is well-organized across the state, financially sound and able to play a major role in helping elect Democrats."