By Travis Mounts
The 93rd Kansas House District will have a new representative in the next legislative session.
Challenger John Whitmer (R-Wichita) unseated incumbent George “Joe” Edwards II (R-Haysville) in Tuesday’s primary.
“We’re excited. We’ve worked awfully hard the past three months door knocking and getting to know folks, and it paid off,” Whitmer said Tuesday night.
He will face Sammy Flaharty (D-Garden Plain) in the General Election. Whitmer said he expects a spirited but friendly debate – a sharp change from the somewhat nasty contest between Whitmer and Edwards, who were fairly similar in terms of politics.
“This will be a different race. Sammy and I are polar opposites (politically),” Whitmer said. “One thing that is nice is we’re very friendly.”
Steven Crum cruised to an easy win in the Democratic primary in the 98th District, one of the few Democratic primaries in the area. Crum, who serves on the Haysville City Council, will take on Steven Anthimides (R-Wichita) in November. Anthimides was appointed to the seat following Phil Hermanson’s resignation last fall.
“I’m glad to be the choice and I’m looking forward to the race in November,” Crum said.
Education will be one difference between Crum and Anthimides, although Anthimides did not support the education funding bill approved this spring.
“I think a lot of (the debate) may come down to the tax code. I think it needs to be reworked,” Crum said.
He called the tax code changes two years ago “a mistake” and said many middle- and lower-income people in his district are hurting because of the changes.
“A lot of things happening in Topeka are having an impact on a lot of people in this area,” Crum said.
The 98th District covers Haysville north of Grand Avenue and parts of south Wichita. The 93rd District covers Haysville south of Grand Avenue, part of southwest Wichita, and southwestern Sedgwick County including Clearwater, Viola and Cheney.
Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s (R-Goddard) effort to regain his former seat in the U.S. Fourth Congressional District fell flat against incumbent Mike Pompeo (R-Wichita). Pompeo won the seat four years ago after Tiahrt lost a U.S. Senate bid to Jerry Moran.
Pompeo looked like a seasoned veteran. He had a much larger campaign war chest, and Tiahrt entered the race late. In addition, Tiahrt face much more criticism over the accuracy of his claims and attacks.
In the statewide races, Gov. Sam Brownback easily defeated Haysville businesswoman Jennifer Winn in the Republican primary. Winn did garner about one-third of the vote despite little visibility or experience, potentially showing frustration moderate Republicans have toward Brownback. Secretary of State Kris Kobach won in similar fashion.
In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Pat Roberts held off a challenge from Milton Wolf and two minor candidates. The Roberts-Wolf contest was an ugly one, with accusations going back and forth. There was even a face-to-face confrontation in the final days of the campaign as Wolf approached Roberts to challenge him to a debate.