Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Pine wins Senate 3rd District GOP race

August 4, 2004


Roger Pine relied on a strong base in his home county to advance to the general election in the 3rd District of the Kansas Senate.

Pine, a farmer who lives in rural Lawrence, defeated three others in the Republican primary Tuesday. He won 49 percent of the vote overall and 65 percent in Douglas County.

"I ran strongly here in Douglas County," he said. "I guess I'd have to attribute that to the fact I grew up here and have been involved in both public activities like the school board as well as community activities for a number of years. I'm sure that helped me."

Pine defeated contenders Connie O'Brien of Tonganoxie, who received 32 percent of the vote; Richard Rodewald of Eudora, who received 11 percent; and Chuck Quinn of Perry, who received 7 percent.

Pine now will face Democrat Jan Justice of Bonner Springs, director of Community Linc, a social service organization in Kansas City, Mo. Justice received 71 percent of the vote in her victory over Ed Sass of Easton.

"I think tonight confirms what the voters have told me the whole time -- that they're not going to take the status quo anymore in Topeka," Justice said.

Both Justice and Pine said voters will have a clear choice in November. Justice characterized the match-up as race "between a conservative and a moderate," while Pine said Justice "is more liberal than I am."

That difference may be shown in their stances on school funding. Justice favors a tax increase for schools "if it is good for the District 3." Pine said he prefers to increase the state's tax base by encouraging economic development, and using that money for schools. However, Pine has said he wouldn't rule out a tax increase.

Justice and Pine also differ on support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Justice opposes a ban. Pine has said he would support an amendment if the current statutory ban were jeopardized.

Pine said his weaker performance in Leavenworth and Jefferson counties -- he was defeated by O'Brien in Leavenworth, and his margin of victory was small in Jefferson -- showed he would need to campaign harder in those areas.

"I don't know everyone as well in Jefferson and Leavenworth counties," he said.

For Justice, Pine's numbers were a sign that many district voters wanted a representative that wasn't from Lawrence.

"He lives in Lawrence and his business is in Lawrence," Justice said. "It's a question of will Leavenworth and Jefferson County want another Senator out of Lawrence, or one out of the more rural areas."

The seat is being vacated by Bob Lyon, a Winchester Republican who is stepping down after one term. The district includes a portion of Lawrence north of Sixth Street, plus Baldwin, Eudora, all of Jefferson County and Basehor, Easton, Linwood and Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County.

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