Kobach ends primary with slight lead over Colyer
By Mike Courson
“The race is on and here comes pride down the back stretch. Heartache’s going to the inside.” George Jones wrote it and sang it, Sawyer Brown covered it, and political candidates lived it on a lively primary election night Tuesday.
Topeka’s Laura Kelly easily won the Democratic primary for Kansas governor. Her Republican opponent remained undetermined into the wee hours of Wednesday morning with incumbent Jeff Colyer and Kris Kobach separated by fewer than 100 votes with four-fifths of the precincts in the state’s most populous county still uncounted. After Johnson County votes were counted, Kobach held just a 191-vote over Colyer. All election counts are unofficial until county canvases.
“Given the historically close margin of the current tabulation, the presence of thousands of as yet uncounted provisional ballots and the extraordinary problems with the count, particularly in Johnson County, this election remains too close to call,” said Colyer in a statement on Wednesday.
“In the 2014 primary, 6333 provisional ballots were cast. The current margin is 0.06 percent. This is the equivalent of a 2-vote margin in a 5,000-vote race with hundreds of votes left to count. We are committed to ensuring that every legal vote is counted accurately throughout the canvassing process.”
Local races were decided Tuesday, some earlier than others. In the U.S. House of Representatives race for District 1, Great Bend’s Roger Marshall jumped out to an early lead. The incumbent Republican went on to win 63,563 votes (79 percent) compared to just 17,139 votes for challenger Nick Reinecker. Alan LaPolice ran uncontested on the Democratic ticket to advance to November’s general election opposite Marshall.
Barton County featured a contested Republican race for County Commission, District Four. Incumbent Alicia Straub hauled in 649 votes (75 percent) compared to 213 votes for Randy Suchy. Hoisington’s Kenny Schremmer ran uncontested as an incumbent in District One.
Rice County also had a contested commission race in District One as incumbent Derek McCloud won with 245 votes. Challenger Rocky Summers garnered 108 votes.
Other area races remained tight all or most of the evening. Late results from McPherson County kept candidates in the Republican race for District Court Judge, 20th district in suspense. Carey Hipp won 4,189 votes (53 percent) to edge Scott McPherson by just 497 votes.
Sterling’s Ben Jones fell behind early in the Republican race for State Board of Education, District 7. A 42-point cushion from Reno County propelled him to the win with 15,172 votes (52 percent). Robert D’Andrea finished with 14,017 votes. Jones will face Democratic candidate James Hannon in November.
In the Kansas House of Representatives Race, 113th District, incumbent Greg Lewis pulled in 2,487 votes (66 percent) to defeat challenger Brett Fairchild, who finished with 1,276 votes. On the Democratic side of that race, David Curtis won 312 votes (58 percent) to defeat David Serrault (223 votes).
Kobach, Colyer close all night
With 408,000 registered voters – or 23 percent of the entire state total – Johnson County was going to have an impact on Tuesdays results. By 1:30 a.m., it was clear the Republican primary would be determined by the outcome in Johnson County.
Long lines led to extended voting and delays around Johnson County Tuesday night. Slow computers led to further delay in getting the votes counted.
As of 1 a.m., Colyer held a 3,700-vote lead over Kobach in Johnson County with just 106 of the 502 precincts in the county counted. With all precincts in, Colyer won the county by 4,361 votes to move closer to Kobach in the statewide count.
Jim Barnett sits in third place in the Republican primary with nine percent of the vote. Ken Selzer sits in fourth with eight percent. Three other candidates hauled in approximately three percent of the vote.
The Democratic primary was determined early in the evening. Kelly jumped out to a large lead and went on to win with 52 percent of the vote. Carl Brewer sits in a distant second with 20 percent of the vote, and Joshua Svaty finished third with 18 percent of the vote.
The Republican primary quickly developed into a two-pony race between Colyer and Kobach. Colyer led by as many as two percentage points early on with roughly half of all precincts in Kansas reporting. Around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Kobach took the lead in the count with 2,389 of the state’s 3,539 reporting.
The race remained close the remainder of the evening. Just after 11 p.m., with approximately 199,000 votes cast for the two candidates, results showed Kobach leading Colyer by just 20 votes with some 240,000 Republican votes counted at that time.
Reno, McPherson, and Ellsworth counties finished up late counts Tuesday, pushing Kobach ahead by some 700 votes.
Estes defeats Estes
In another interesting finish, incumbent U.S. Congressman Ron Estes won the Republican primary for the fourth district with 81 percent of this opponent. His opponent, Ron M. Estes, brought in 19% of the vote.
The incumbent’s camp said the “M” in Ron M. Estes stood for “misleading.” The Ron M. Estes camp countered that it stands for ‘Merica. Ron M. Estes was notably absent from comment heading into Tuesday’s primary.
Watch for more complete and up-to-date results in Friday’s edition of the Hoisington Dispatch, Ellinwood Leader, Lyons News, and Larned Tiller and Toiler.
Kansas Primary Election results as of 10 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 1
Republican (1371of 1371 precincts in)
Roger Marshall – 63,563 (79%)
Nick Reinecker – 17,139 (21%)
Republican (3539 of 3539 precincts reporting)
Only top candidates listed as of 10:42 p.m.
Jim Barnett – 27,449 (9%)
Jeff Colyer – 126,066 (41%)
Kris Kobach – 126,257 (41%)
Ken Selzer – 24,356 (8%)
Democrat (3539 of 3539 precincts reporting)
Carl Brewer – 30,693 (20%)
Laura Kelly – 78,746 (52%)
Josh Svaty – 26,722 (18%)
KANSAS HOUSE OF REP. 113 (55 of 55 precincts in)
Brett Fairchild – 1,276 (34%)
Greg Lewis – 2,487 (66%)
David Curtis – 312 (58%)
David Serrault – 223 (42%)
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, District 7
Republican (376 of 416 precincts in)
Ben Jones – 13,926 (55%)
Robert D’Andrea – 11,418 (45%)
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 20 (133 of 133 precincts in)
Carey Hipp – 4,189 (53%)
Scott McPherson – 3,692 (47%)
COMMISSION, DISTRICT 4
Alicia Straub – 649 (75%)
Randy Suchy – 213 (24%)
CITY OF GREAT BEND
Council, Ward 1
Josh Ellis – 33 (7%)
Bobby Lee Roller – 38 (8%)
Alan Moeder – 243 (50%)
Jessica Milsap – 140 (29%)
Bradley McCune – 27 (6%)
COMMISSION, DISTRICT 1
Derek McCloud – 245
Rocky Summers – 108