Members of the Republican caucus in the Kansas State Senate voted to remove Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop (R) from his position on April 9. The caucus vote was 22-4 following the release of additional details about Suellentrop’s March 16 arrest. Assistant Majority Leader Larry Alley will act as Senate Majority Leader until the Republican caucus selects a new leader in May.
Suellentrop had previously stepped down from his leadership position on March 17 after the Kansas Highway Patrol arrested him for allegedly driving under the influence and attempting to flee from a law enforcement officer. An affidavit submitted by the arresting officer was released on April 8 that stated Suellentrop’s blood-alcohol level was 0.17, over twice the legal limit. The affidavit also says that Suellentrop taunted the Highway Patrol officer.
Suellentrop was elected State Senate majority leader in December 2020 and had been set to serve in that role through 2024. The majority leader is the second-highest leadership position in the Kansas State Senate, after the Senate president. As the floor leader of the majority caucus, the majority leader serves as the principal speaker during debates on the Senate floor and works to promote the party’s legislative agenda.
Suellentrop was first elected to the state Senate in 2016, defeating Tony Hunter, 66.5% to 33.5%. Before his election to the Senate, he served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017.