Archive for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

GOP incumbents ousted from state school board

August 7, 2002


— Two incumbent Republicans lost State Board of Education seats Tuesday night, endangering a moderate majority installed only two years ago in a political furor over evolution.

Both Val DeFever, of Independence, and board Chairman Sonny Rundell, of Syracuse, were defeated by conservative challengers.

Evolution didn't appear to be a prominent issue in either races, and only Rundell's contest received much attention.

In the 5th District, the challenger, teacher Connie Morris, of St. Francis, received 60 percent of the vote, with 98 percent of the precincts reporting. Rundell had 40 percent.

Morris proposed barring the children of illegal immigrants from attending public schools, saying the cost of educating them was draining away state tax dollars.

In the 9th District, DeFever had only 46 percent against challenger M. Van Meter, of Thayer, who had 54 percent, with final, unofficial results tallied. Van Meter made DeFever's support of increased spending on schools an issue.

In both districts, no Democrats filed, so the primary determined the winner.

In two other districts, incumbents won, however.

In the 1st District, with final, unofficial results in, Democrat Janet Waugh pulled down 76 percent in her race with challenger Hershel Martin. Both candidates are from Kansas City, and no Republican was running.

In the 3rd District, incumbent John Bacon, of Olathe, a conservative who remained on the board after moderates took control, defeated Forrest E. Weddle, also of Olathe, with 57 percent and 83 percent of the precincts reporting. No Democrat was on the ballot.

In the 7th District, where the seat was open, Kenneth Willard won the GOP primary, with 65 percent over Sam Kepfield, with 88 percent of precincts reporting. The winner was to challenge Democrat L. Duane Anstine. All are from Hutchinson.

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