Kansas is staunchly Republican. Its voters have have backed only one Democratic presidential candidate - Lyndon B Johnson - in the last 60 years, and have not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
The 2002 election of Democrat Kathleen Sebelius as governor was therefore something of a surprise, the result of splits in Republican ranks rather than a dramatic realignment. Ms Sebelius proved a popular governor, however, and easily won re-election in 2006.
The Democrats also had a shock win in the House in 2006, when Nancy Boyda picked up a seat from the five-term Republican incumbent Jim Ryun.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has family connections in the state - his mother's family came from Kansas.
Population: 2,764,075 (ranked 33 among states)
Governor: Kathleen Sebelius (D)
Electoral college votes: 6
But despite the state's recent tilt towards the Democrats and Mr Obama's family ties, Kansas voters are still likely to opt for John McCain and his state-level Republican colleagues in November.
The geographic centre of the US, Kansas is farming country, and forever associated with the classic film The Wizard of Oz.
In 1996 Bob Dole, the Republican presidential candidate and a former Kansas Senator, used the state's middle American values as a campaign theme.
House of Representatives:
2 Democrat, 2 Republican
Senate: 2 Republican
The state is known as the "bread basket" and harvests much of the country's wheat.
2004: Bush 62%, Kerry 37%
2000: Bush 58%, Gore 37%
1996: Clinton 36%, Dole 54%
But like other agricultural states it has suffered a decline in income in recent years.
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