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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The 2014 Primary elections on Tuesday resulted in a few surprising wins in some local races.

One of the bigger surprises in the state was right here in the democratic race for the 42nd Kansas House District.  18-year-old Austin Lee Harris beat out Harold Fevurly Jr. 56% to 44%.

Austin Lee Harris

Austin Lee Harris (D-Tonganoxie) will face Connie O’Brien (R-Tonganoxie) in November (photo courtesy the Harris campaign)

“I knew it would be close, but we are all extremely happy that we came out on top,” an exited Harris Tuesday evening.  Harris was a little awestruck when we asked him what it’s like to be one election away from the Kansas State House.

“It’s just a whirlwind,” Harris said. “This just goes to show you that age doesn’t matter.  We are proud of this accomplishment.”

Harris now will need to prepare himself to take on a political veteran when he goes against 3 term incumbent Connie O’Brien. “A lot of moderate Republicans feel disenfranchised,” Harris said. “Voters need to take a look at her record and make the best determination of who to vote for.”

Harold Fevurly Jr. was a little taken aback when he learned he lost the election. We contacted Fevurly late Tuesday night for a comment about his loss and his response was simple: “I lost?  Well, the voters chose, that’s democracy”.

The other closely contested race involved the Insurance Commissioner’s office.  Area resident Beverly Gossage came in a close second to CPA Ken Selzer (Leawood) for the Republican nomination in the race.  The field was crowded with 5 contestants running for the GOP nomination. Selzer won the race with 27%, while Gossage pulled 23%. Clark Shultz came in third right behind Gossage also with 23%. David Powell finished a distant fourth with 17% and John Toplikar rounded out the field with 10%.  Selzer will now face off against Dennis Anderson (Overland Park), the sole Democrat in the race.

In the 2nd District U.S. House race, Congress woman Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) had no problem defeating her opponent Josh Tucker 69% to 31%.

First of all, I want to thank Joshua Tucker for having the courage to run. It’s a tough business sometimes and while we may have our disagreements I suspect even he would agree that as Republicans we generally agree on the issues that matter most,” Jenkins said in a phone interview with Eudorareporter.com. “I’m glad the primary is behind us and I look forward to the election in November.”

Jenkins will have a fight on her hands. Margie Wakefield (D-Lawrence) who was unopposed in the primary race, has an active campaign against Jenkins going already. Wakefield has come out against many of Jenkins’ votes in the House.

“I haven’t heard what she for yet,” Jenkins said. “I’ve heard what she’s against in regards to my record.  I’ve heard her say one day I do nothing and then the next it’s I did this or that.  You can’t have it both ways.”

In other races, most came out as expected but the margins of victory were closer than anticipated. Governor Sam Brownback won 63% to 37%. Political pundits told us that while Brownback’s win was all but certain, the margin of victory would be something to watch.  Anything below 70% likely means that Brownback may have some difficulty in November in his race against Paul Davis (D-Topeka).

In the Senate race Democrat Chad Taylor (Topeka) narrowly defeated Patrick Wiesner 53% to 47%. On the Republican side, Pat Roberts (Dodge City) edged Milton Wolf (Leawood) 48% to 41%.  D.J. Smith finished with 6% and Alvin Zahtner picked up 5%.

For Secretary of State, Kris Kobach (Piper) defeated Scott Morgan (Lawrence) 65% to 35%.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Some changes are coming to City Hall.  Three City council positions were up for grabs in today’s election and a handful of candidates were vying for those seats.

Ruth Hughs came away as the leading vote getter, garnering over 400 votes for 28.8% of the vote. She bested the second place candidate Kenny Massey by 140 votes.  The race for the third and final spot was much tighter as John Fiore edged Jerry Trober by 12 votes.

Maria Nelson came in 5th 30 votes behind Trober and Chris Fiedler rounded out the list a distant 6th.

When we asked Hughs about her huge win she said “I can’t believe it. I’m just so humbled and honored to serve the citizens of Eudora. I appreciate all those who lent their support to me.”

John Fiore talked about how he was excited to be added to the City Council. “I appreciate all the voters faith in me. I will work hard to represent the people well.”

Kenny Massey, who decided to move away from the School Board and to the City Council spoke to us and talked about how “this is a new challenge for me and a new perspective.  I’m looking forward to that challenge in the future.”

Incumbent Maria Nelson, who fell short in her bid for a second term, was saddened by the news of the loss but was upbeat about the future. “I’m very happy to have served the last four years.  I’m also very happy to be handing over the reins to a group of great people.”

The newcomer to the race, Chris Fiedler summed up the race and the results  saying “Congratulations to those who won. It was a pleasure to run against everyone and do it in a good, clean race.   I look forward to cotniue being involved in the community in the coming years.”

The new Council should be sworn in at the April 11th City Council meeting.

News and notes about the numbers:

Voter turnout was fair with approximately 15% of the voters casting ballots. The lowest percentage turnout was in Central Eudora with 12.6% of votes cast and the largest was in the north precinct where they has 17.3%.

Jerry Trober tied with Rugh Hughs in the north precinct with 75 votes. Trober’s numbers in the south district were extremely low which knocked him down to 4th place in the race.

Massey had good enough numbers on the West side of town to propel him into second. Massey finished third in the other three precincts.

According to the numbers we have, just under 700 voters turned out for the City Council election. There are just over 4800 registered voters in the city.

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The Eudora School Board will have a very similar look to it for the next two years as all the incumbents that ran won their respective seats.  Re-elected to the Eudora School Board were Joe Pyle, Belinda Rehmer and Mark Chrislip. Pyle who, by less than 5 votes (this number is pending the results from Leavenworth County) finished ahead of  Rehmer.

The newcomer to the School Board will be Dr. Daniel Dickerson who will take the seat vacated by Kenny Massey who ran for City Council. Bryan Maring came in fifth place, well behind Dickerson.

Joe Pyle said on his narrow first place win, “I’m humbled by the confidence of all the voters and very grateful. We have a lot of tough decisions ahead of us and I look forward to doing the best I can.”

Belinda Rehmer commented on her victory saying “Apparently people are satisfied with the job we have been doing since all the incumbents were re-elected.  This is vote of confidence we are on the right track with what we are doing.”

The Board will be facing some very tough questions in the days and weeks ahead as the topic of school district financing will be front and center.

Also new to the board will be Joseph Hurla who was unopposed for the seat previously filled by Nancy Jackson who decided not to run for re-election.

Some interesting stats from the race:

Pyle  lead in the west, north and south parts of Eudora while Rehmer was the top vote getter in the Central part of town.  Dickerson took 5th in the Central and South part of town, but made up for those loses on the west side.

North Eudora had the largest percent of vote turnout for the School Board race with 17.3% of the population casting ballots. 15.6% of west voters turned out, while the South has 12.9% and the Central Eudora Precinct had only 12.6%.

We didn’t see who the 15 write-in votes were for, but we are taking a hunch that Mickey Mouse had a good showing.

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