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Politics

Kansas Republicans Joyous After Contentious Campaigns

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Abigail Wilson
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Elections results are now in, but for some, the votes couldn’t be totaled fast enough. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson was at the Sedgwick County GOP watch party last night.

There are a few hundred people at the Republican watch party for the 2014 midterm elections. Voters in Kansas face one of the busiest ballots in recent years and that’s definitely reflected in the atmosphere at the Marriott in East Wichita.

Early in the evening Congressman Mike Pompeo addresses the crowd.

"It is really great to see so many folks out here tonight, I’ve listened to the national media who’s now camped out in Kansas. I’ve heard them talk about ‘Kansas has lost it’s vision –it’s Republican vision; it’s not a red state; it’s not a conservative place.' I dare them to walk into this room in the Marriott and say that without security."

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Credit Abigail Wilson

The crowd is decked out in Republican messages and buttons reading "Fire Reid" –as in Harry Reid- and "I like Mike" for Mike Pompeo. School-aged children in yellow t-shirts supporting Sam Brownback eagerly watch the large screens displaying the rising vote totals. Pompeo, the favorite in his race for US Representative from the 4th district, is mingling within the crowd. And while he seems like he enjoys the adrenaline rush of election night,  he says patience isn’t his forte.

“I always open my Christmas present early...so I’d like to know right away."

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Credit Abigail Wilson

 Josh Wright sits in the front row, feet from the projector screen wearing  a red, white and blue tie. Like most everyone at the party, he’s closely watching the senate and gubernatorial races.

"Even if Governor Brownback doesn't pull out the election tonight, I think that we're still going to have a conservative tea party-based state legislature. I think Paul Davis would still have a very difficult time repealing these tax cuts that Governor Brownback has been successful putting into place. I think Kansas will still be a very conservative Republican state in the future and I think that the progress Governor Brownback has made is going to stay for a while here in Kansas.”

And, as the night continues, Wright's statement about Kansas being a conservative Republican state proves true, much to the delight of those wearing the "Fire Reid" stickers. Melinda Craft proudly displays her sticker on the lapel of her jacket. Then the Senate race is called for Pat Roberts.

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Credit Abigail Wilson

"It's good to take the Senate with the Republicans picking seven seats,” Craft says. “It’s great to think that we might actually be able to get something done in this country.”

Gary Mason says he agrees and although he’s not wearing his “Fire Reid” sticker right now, he is glad to see Republicans gain back control of the Senate.

"I don't have one on now, I had one on earlier but I think it's good to see some change. Harry pretty much had a policy of not allowing any amendments at all and that's just not right. That's not America. And now we’ll be able to see more amendments from both sides, Democrats and Republicans no matter who is in charge of the Senate and that’s a good thing for America,” Mason says.

A few minutes after 11:00 pm, the room begins to buzz with word that Paul Davis is conceding to Governor Sam Brownback. Craig Allen Harms only has one thing to say.

“The sun is shining in Kansas and don’t let anybody tell you any different,” Harms says, referencing a campaign ad for Sam Brownback.

The sun is long gone by the time the celebrations end on a full room of Republicans and over 50 percent of the voters in the Kansas mid term elections.