Archive for Wednesday, November 6, 2002

House majority leader loses try for write-in win

November 6, 2002

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— For the second time this year, voters rejected House Majority Leader Shari Weber's bid to remain in the Legislature, replacing her with Bill Kassebaum.

Weber first lost the Aug. 6 Republican primary to Kassebaum, son of a former U.S. senator and grandson of a former Kansas governor. Then Weber became a write-in candidate in the general election, losing Tuesday to Kassebaum again.

In the 68th District, Kassebaum finished with 53 percent of the vote against 31 percent for Weber, considered a good showing for a write-in candidate. Democrat Susan Mulryan, of Dwight, rounded out the field with 21 percent.

House Republicans went into the elections with a 79-46 majority and expected to retain control of the chamber after the ballots were counted.

All 125 House districts were redrawn this year to reflect population shifts based on the 2000 census. The only district with two incumbents was the 62nd, where Bruce Larkin, D-Baileyville, defeated Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, 58 percent to 42 percent.

Kassebaum is the son of former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker and grandson of Republican icon Alf Landon, the two-term governor and 1936 presidential candidate.

In the primary, Weber of Herington, lost to Kassebaum, a Morris County attorney and cattle rancher, by 145 votes out of 3,851 cast. She blamed the loss in part on low GOP turnout. Supporters then launched the write-in campaign.

Her getting back into the race reflected the ongoing split among Kansas Republicans. He's a moderate and she's a conservative.

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