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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Many Wichita Republican Incumbents Safe After Primary

Sean Sandefur
Republican incumbents Gene Suellentrop and Dan Kerschen, left, celebrate their wins at a watch party Tuesday night.

In a night where many incumbents were unseated in Kansas’ primary elections, Republican voters in the Wichita area favored their current elected representatives.

A large crowd of candidates and supporters mingled around drinks, food and televisions for more than three hours on Tuesday night at a catered dinner in west Wichita. Some incumbents were able to enjoy the party: Rep. John Whitmer of Cheney ran unopposed and Sen. Dan Kerschen of Garden Plain won big in his primary race.

But state Rep. Gene Suellentrop, who’s now running for Senate after four terms in the Kansas House, barely squeaked by in his race against Lori Graham, a small business owner and first-time politician; he narrowly beat her with 51 percent of the vote. Suellentrop said that he was no doubt impacted by his voting record.

“I was considered the incumbent, I really think so. And I was tied to that in a number of different ways. But still, we prevailed," he said.

Many moderate Republicans were looking to unseat Sen. Ty Masterson, the current Ways and Means Committee Chair and a big ally of Gov. Sam Brownback. But Masterson was victorious against Andover City Council member Troy Tabor.


Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter @SeanSandefur

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