Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:49
Despite losing to Doug Lindahl in Marion County, John Barker pulled enough votes elsewhere in the 70th District to win the Republican nomination for the open seat in the Kansas House by a comfortable margin in the Aug. 7 primary election.
District-wide, Barker, a retired judge from Abilene, pulled 59 percent (2,015) of the Republican vote to defeat Lindahl (1,375), an agri-businessman from Enterprise.
Lindahl was publicly endorsed by Marion’s Robert Brookens, the two-term incumbent who decided not to run this year in order to focus on his law practice.
The redrawn 70th District now includes the northern half of the county, including the city of Marion. The rest of the county, including Hillsboro and Peabody, is now part of District 74, where incumbent Republican Don Schroeder of Hesston ran unopposed. He received 604 votes.
Neither Barker nor Schroeder will have a Democratic opponent on the general election ballot this fall.
In the other contested races, incumbent Jay Emler of Lindsborg handily defeated challenger Jesse Bryant of Galva for the 35th District Senate nomination. The margin was 6,682-2,432 district-wide and 769-408 in Marion County.
Joining Schroeder as GOP candidates running unopposed in the county were: Tim Huelskamp, U.S. House (1,043); Daniel Holub, county commission District 2 (366); Randy Dallke, county commission District 3; Susan Robson, county attorney (1,027); Tina Spencer, county clerk (1,052); Jeannine Bateman, county treasurer (1,107); Jo Ottensmeier, register of deeds (1,090) and Robert Craft, sheriff (1,129).
Each of the above candidates is an incumbent, except for Spencer. She will be running unopposed in November to succeed Carol Maggard, who plans to retire.
Except for precinct positions, Marion County Democrats who went to the polls Tuesday had no candidates listed on the ballot.
According to the county election office, 1,299 voters cast primary ballots, which is about 19 percent of eligible voters.
Statewide, the primary election involved 22.8 percent of all voters registered in Kansas. A total of 392,142 Kansans cast ballots.
The turnout exceeded the 18 percent predicted by Secretary of State Kris Kobach. His prediction was principally based on the flow of advanced ballots received as of five days before the primary.
“I am delighted that more Kansas voters participated than we expected,” Kobach said. “Although I would prefer to see turnout much higher than 22.8 percent, it is nevertheless good news that Kansas voters turned out in higher numbers than we estimated.”
Kobach credited the heavily contested Senate races across the state for the higher number of ballots cast.
Participation rates varied widely from county to county and from district to district. Where a race was hotly contested, turnout was usually considerably higher than where there was not a heavily contested race.
The county with the highest turnout was Greeley County with 64.7 percent. The lowest participation was in Wyandotte County with 11.3 percent.