Posts tagged with 2010 Elections

Kansas election results certified with few irregularities reported

The general election results were certified on Monday, and officials said there were a few reports of ballot irregularities and no allegations of illegal immigrants trying to vote.

The Kansas State Board of Canvassers signed off on the Nov. 2 election, which produced big gains for Republicans.

“We all lost fair and square,” Democratic Secretary of State Chris Biggs quipped after chairing a meeting of the board.

Biggs was defeated in the election by Republican Kris Kobach, who said that during the campaign voter fraud was a major problem in Kansas and that he planned to push for changes to ensure that illegal immigrants weren’t voting.

Kobach, an attorney who fights in court on behalf of state and city governments trying to establish their own immigration laws, has said he will push in Kansas for measures that will require voters to show a photo ID at the polls and require people registering to vote for the first time in a given county to present proof of their citizenship.

On Monday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brad Bryant said there were three cases in Johnson County of people who allegedly “double voted” during the Nov. 2 election. Those are being investigated by the district attorney’s office there, he said.

He said there were no allegations of illegal immigrants trying to vote.

There were 856,831 Kansans who voted, or half of the total number of registered voters.

That 50 percent total was pretty much in line with previous nonpresidential year elections. Voting in presidential election years is much higher, with 71 percent voting in 2008.

Republicans made significant gains in the 2010 election, capturing all the statewide and congressional seats on the ballot and improving their advantage in the Kansas Legislature.

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By Scott Rothschild


Eilert wins Johnson County Commission Chair race

After what "seemed like a long wait" for final results, Johnson County Commissioner and former Overland Park mayor Ed Eilert will be the new Johnson County Commission Chair. "My numbers were strong in the advance totals so we had a very positive feeling going into the regular ballot count, but it still seemed like a long wait," Eilert said.

Eilert defeated incumbent Annabeth Surbaugh with 83,793 votes to her 76,025.

The two sparred over economic issues throughout the campaign season, with Eilert drawing attention to what he deemed Surbaugh's "deficit spending."

Surbaugh will spend the remainder of her term working with the county charter commission to complete the charter review and will finalize the new Johnson County courthouse committee.

"I'm not sure what I'll be doing next but I'm excited about the possibilities that are out there," Surbaugh said. "I have no remorse or remiss about [my loss] but I'm passionate about this community and I hope to continue to work with that in some way."

The day after his win, Eilert was out recovering his campaign signs but already his mind was on his top priorities for the beginning of his term.

"My number one priority will be to begin work on the 2012 budget," Eilert said. "We have to be sure we have a budget and financial plan that is within our current revenues. We can't operate on a budget that depends on reserves, it won't work."

Eilert also plans to form a Jobs for Johnson County task force early on that will work with Governor-elect Sam Brownback's plan to encourage job development in Kansas. The Johnson County task force will include city officials, economic development authorities and anyone interested in bolstering job growth, according to Eilert.

In addition to serving as mayor of Overland Park, Eilert previously served on the Overland Park City Council, the Board of Directors of Metcalf Bank and taught high school business courses throughout the county.

"I just really appreciate all the help I received from all over the county and I will work very hard to make sure the voters feel confident in their decision," Eilert said.


Republicans achieve big gains in Kansas House

The Republican wave was no more evident than in the Kansas House, and that could mean a big lurch to the right in state government. Before Tuesday’s election, the GOP held a 76-49 advantage in the House. Now it has a 92-33 advantage. That success goes along with a Republican sweep of statewide races from governor on down.

“It was not a pretty night for Democrats,” House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Wednesday.

It was a history-making election.

The last time the House Republican margin was so lopsided was in 1954 when the GOP held a 105-20 advantage. And the last time Republicans swept the statewide races was 1964.

The Democratic losses in the House means the end of a bipartisan majority of Democrats and moderate Republicans that has fought for school funding, and passed a 1-cent state sales tax increase earlier this year to fend off what supporters said would have been devastating cuts to education, social services and public safety.

“It’s gone,” Davis said of the bipartisan group. “The face of state government has changed significantly with this election. You are going to see some very different things coming out of the Legislature. You have a very significant conservative majority in the House.”

Davis said he believes there will be much more force behind attempts to put additional restrictions on abortion, make it more difficult to get a divorce and prohibit domestic partner registries such as the one Lawrence has. All these issues have been in play during the past few years.

Republican Gov.-elect Sam Brownback emphasized fiscal issues during his campaign, proposing a “Road Map for Kansas,” which focused on improving the economy and student academic performance.

In his victory speech, Brownback continued that theme, saying, “We campaigned on the Road Map. We won on the Road Map. We will govern on the Road Map.”

But Brownback and Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt have called for repeal of federal health care reform, and Brownback and Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach have called for photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register to vote.

In addition, Davis said abortion opponents know they have a friend in the governor's office and will expect movement on their issue.

Kansans For Life put out a news release that said Brownback “will welcome, and sign, the many pro-life bills” that had been vetoed by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. And Kansans for Life said the Republican victories in the House further strengthened its hand.

“While he (Brownback) may not be actively promoting those kinds of issues, they are going to land on his desk. I expect he will sign most of those provisions,” Davis said.

Brownback has said he wants to impose a state spending freeze, while overhauling the school finance system, which accounts for more than half of state spending, and state tax policies.

He now has a larger majority to help him. The GOP advantage in the Senate was already 31-9.

Republican gains in the Kansas House occurred statewide.

In Johnson County, voters ousted five of six Democratic incumbents.

Republicans also picked up open districts that had long been held by Democrats, and toppled other incumbents across Kansas.

Davis said the Democratic losses were the result of Republicans making the elections a referendum on President Barack Obama.

“Republicans were very successful in executing a campaign strategy that clearly played well with the electorate,” Davis said. He said he doesn’t think the election results showed voter unhappiness with the sales tax increase.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, which worked to defeat legislators who supported the state sales tax increase, hailed the results of the election.

“As we work to grow the Kansas economy by promoting job growth and retention, we are looking forward to a new era in Kansas government, led by Gov. Sam Brownback and bolstered by a more pro-business Legislature,” said Kent Beisner, chief executive office of the Kansas Chamber.

State Treasurer Dennis McKinney, a Democrat, who lost in his election bid against Republican Ron Estes, said Kansas Democrats are a resilient bunch.

“I’m going to predict that we’ll be back,” he said.

By Scott Rothschild


Methodist church Election Night Dinner sees high turn-out

Ruth Bowlin selects her dessert at the 74th annual Election Night Dinner at the De Soto Methodist church. "I've been coming to these dinners since 1982," Bowlin said. "I used to help cook but now I just come for the food after I vote."

Ruth Bowlin selects her dessert at the 74th annual Election Night Dinner at the De Soto Methodist church. "I've been coming to these dinners since 1982," Bowlin said. "I used to help cook but now I just come for the food after I vote." by Laura Herring

The De Soto Methodist church's 74th annual Election Night Dinner saw approximately 150 diners on Tuesday, Nov. 2. "It's wonderful, the turn-out is almost overwhelming," said event volunteer Charlotte Whim. "We've had a hard time keep up with all the needs at the tables."

The Methodist church has been hosting the Election Night Dinner since 1936 and is a beloved tradition to many.

"I've been coming to these dinners since 1982," said attendee Ruth Bowlin, 87. "I used to help cook but now I just come for the food, but of course I get out and vote first."

Organizers of the event said Tuesday's attendance was much higher than it has been in recent years.

"Maybe we just did a better job publicizing this year, maybe it's a sign the economy is starting to turn around, I'm not sure," Whim said. "It's just been a busy night and now we're almost out of pies and it's wonderful."


De Soto polls saw heavy traffic

A strong turn-out of voters at the De Soto VFW Post #6654 for the Nov. 2 mid-term elections kept the polling booths full and some voters waiting in line. By 9 a.m., a mere two hours after the polls opened, the VFW had seen approximately 140 voters, according to supervising election judge Christine Peterson.

A strong turn-out of voters at the De Soto VFW Post #6654 for the Nov. 2 mid-term elections kept the polling booths full and some voters waiting in line. By 9 a.m., a mere two hours after the polls opened, the VFW had seen approximately 140 voters, according to supervising election judge Christine Peterson. by Laura Herring

The three polling stations in De Soto saw a combined total of 1,597 voters on Tuesday, Nov. 2, for the primary election. The De Soto VFW Post #6654 saw 769 voters, the De Soto Community Center 457 and the De Soto Methodist church 371. These numbers do not include the number of advance voters.

"We did the math and I think we've averaged about 61 per hour," said VFW supervising judge Christine Peterson. "It's been very busy all day."

With the high numbers came lines and waits, but few seemed to mind.

"The line moved right along so I didn't really care," said voter Dorine Arvidson. "The important thing is voting."

Arvidson wasn't the only voter who didn't mind waiting in line so long as his/her vote was cast. First-time voter Goncalo Caldron, who became an American citizen last year, simply wanted the opportunity to make a difference.

"I wanted to vote because it is my responsibility as a citizen and because I want to have some say in the changes that take place," Caldron said.

The speediness of the lines was helped by the efficiency of the voting machines.

"I've been impressed and pleased with the patience of all our voters," said Community Center supervising judge David Wayne. "The lines have moved steadily and we've been spared equipment errors."


Brownback wins race for Kansas governor

Kansas Republican candidates on Tuesday went on an historic sweep of victories in a campaign that focused on opposition to President Barack Obama. "A clean sweep for a new beginning," said Gov.-elect Sam Brownback. "No more Obama way. Now let's go the Kansas way," Brownback old about 300 people at the Republican Party celebration at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Brownback took the stage at 10 p.m. with his wife, Mary, and three of his five children. Lt. Gov.-elect Jeff Colyer and his family joined him.

"We still believe in American exceptionalism," Brownback said, adding that Kansas "is the heart of it."

Brownback told his supporters, "Have a great time tonight. The work begins tomorrow."

Democratic candidate Tom Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, called Brownback earlier and congratulated him.

"In Congress, Senator Brownback has been a consistent advocate for human rights in Darfur, North Korea and around the globe," Holland said. "He's shown the world the compassion that all Kansans have for those in need."

Brownback was leading Holland 63 percent to 33 percent.

Earlier, U.S. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who was not on the ballot, said "With Kansas leading the way tonight, we are going to get our America back."

Referring to Obama, Roberts said, "Yes he can? No he won't."

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who ran unopposed in winning a third term, said she was looking forward to working alongside a Republican governor.

"He wants to grow the economy," Praeger, a former Lawrence mayor and legislator, said of Brownback.

Brownback, attorney general-elect Derek Schmidt, secretary of state-elect Kris Kobach, treasurer-elect Ron Estes and Praeger were throwing the first GOP shutout of statewide offices since 1964.

Brownback will become the first social conservative Republican governor in state history.

Mark Parkinson, the former lieutenant governor who was elevated to the governor's office in 2009 when former governor Kathleen Sebelius joined Obama's cabinet, decided not to run.

Associated Press writer John Milburn contributed to this story.


Estes bests McKinney in Kansas state treasurer’s race

Kansas is getting a new Republican state treasurer. Sedgwick County treasurer Ron Estes defeated Democratic incumbent Dennis McKinney in Tuesday's election.

McKinney was appointed state treasurer in 2008 by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, after Republican treasurer Lynn Jenkins was elected to the U.S. House.

Estes was outspent 6-to-1 by McKinney in this fall's campaign, and their race was low-key. Even as Estes promised to make improvements, he acknowledged that he didn't have much criticism of McKinney.


Yoder defeats Moore for U.S. House, 3rd District

Kevin Yoder’s victory Tuesday night in the state’s 3rd Congressional District helped Republicans nationally win back control of the House and ensure a GOP sweep of the state’s delegation in Washington. “People certainly are tired of great spending and bigger government in Washington,” Yoder said Tuesday night. “They want somebody who will work to reduce the size of the federal government and someone who will work to find free market and enterprise solutions, not big government solutions.”

Yoder defeated retiring Rep. Dennis Moore’s wife, Stephene Moore. Yoder rode a huge wave of support in Republican-rich Johnson County on Tuesday. Overall, he received nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Moore, a nurse from Lenexa, managed to gain an advantage in Democratic-controlled Douglas and Wyandotte counties, but she was unable to overcome Yoder’s lead in Johnson County.

In Douglas County, Moore captured 10,017 votes compared with 5,878 for Yoder and 614 for Libertarian Jasmin Talbert.

But Yoder, an Overland Park attorney and state legislator, dominated in Johnson County by nearly 52,000 votes.

During the campaign, Yoder stressed lower taxes and less government regulation. He frequently mentioned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s name in the same sentence with Stephene Moore during debates.

“I think it was a big night for the Republican Party,” Yoder said. “A lot of voters came home who may not have voted Republican over the last few years.”

But Moore tried to paint herself as a moderate candidate and Yoder as a political opportunist. She often criticized the budget Yoder proposed — but eventually didn’t pass — in the Kansas House last session, saying it slashed education funding but opened the door for local property tax increases.

“We’re disappointed by the results, but we’re going to continue to work hard for moderate solutions,” Moore’s campaign spokesman Trevor Willett said in a phone interview Tuesday night.


Kobach beats Biggs to win Kansas secretary of state race

A professor who helped write Arizona's new immigration law has been elected Kansas secretary of state. Republican Kris Kobach (KOH'-bahk) defeated Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs in Tuesday's election.

Kobach had made combatting election fraud his major issue. He advocates requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The secretary of state is Kansas' top elections official.

But some voters supported Kobach because as a law professor, he's advised cities and states, including Arizona, about cracking down on illegal immigration.

Biggs was appointed secretary of state in March to fill a vacancy.


Moran beats Johnston in race for U.S. Senate

The Kansas Republican Party's dominance in U.S. Senate races — dating back to the Great Depression — continued with the election of Jerry Moran. Republicans have always been the dominant party in modern Kansas politics, but Democrats have usually managed some strategic wins.

Voters sent U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran to the Senate with a huge victory margin Tuesday night, something his fellow Republicans had expected in a race against an articulate but little-known, first-time Democratic candidate.

Moran's win over Democrat Lisa Johnston, a college administrator, fit with the Republican nominee's status in the GOP-leaning state. Kansas hasn't elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1932.

Also, Moran easily tapped into many voters' discontent with President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats over the economy and the new federal health care law.

"I'm humbled," Moran told The Associated Press by phone from Hays, where he and his supporters were celebrating his victory. "With success tonight comes great responsibility as we try to turn this country around."

Moran, 56, also has a folksy, approachable image built with hundreds of town hall meetings as a congressman. He's represented the sprawling 1st Congressional District of central and western Kansas since 1997.

"Jerry's been around for a long time, so you see what he's saying, and his town halls, they've been around for a long time," Michelle Hoferer, a 51-year-old Topeka resident and project manager for a company that fabricates limestone, said after voting at a Topeka nursing home.

Moran will replace U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican who opted to give up the seat and run for governor.

Johnston, a 39-year-old resident of the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, has been on leave from her job as an assistant dean at Baker University in Baldwin City. Democrats who met her or heard her speak often came away with a favorable impression.

It didn't translate into votes because she had only a small fraction of the campaign funds that Moran did. The two never debated, further limiting her visibility.

But Johnston told the AP that she had "a wonderful time" campaigning and meeting voters and has received encouragement from fellow Democrats to run for office again. She's not ruling it out.

"I'm not going anywhere," she said. "I'll stay active in politics."

Johnston positioned herself as a fresh face with a new perspective for the Senate, but Moran's conservative voting record seemed in tune with voters in Kansas, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by better than 3-to-2.

Moran has advocated repeal of the federal health care law, while Johnston said it contained some good policy. Moran is a strong critic of federal economic stimulus measures pushed by Obama, while Johnston said they'd headed off disastrous economic problems.

"I am pretty much discouraged about everything," said Sonia Williams, a 54-year-old accountant from the Kansas City-area suburb of Mission, who voted a straight GOP ticket. "I don't think we'll be able to repeal the health care plan."

Moran's toughest challenge was the Republican primary in August, when he faced fellow U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt in what became among the state's bitterest contests in at least a generation.

Moran prevailed after burning through $5.2 million, and he spent another $671,000 on his fall campaign through mid-October. Johnston's total spending through mid-October was less than $23,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.