Kassebaum ousted by GOP opponent
Topeka -- A Republican incumbent House member who championed a tax increase for schools was defeated Tuesday by the same opponent he had ousted over spending issues two years earlier.
Winning 53 percent of the vote, Shari Weber of Herington defeated Rep. Bill Kassebaum of Burdick, who also is the grandson of Gov. Alf Landon and son of former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker. In 2002, Kassebaum defeated Weber.
Conservatives prevail in BOE primaries
Topeka -- Conservative Republicans scored a victory Tuesday night in winning a key seat on the State Board of Education, where they have shared power with moderates.
Kathy Martin, a retired school teacher from Clay Center, was leading incumbent Republican Bruce Wyatt of Salina. With 86 percent of the vote counted, Martin was ahead 60 percent to 40 percent for Wyatt.
For the past two years, the board has been split 5-5 between the two sides. The shift to the ideological right could ignite a renewed debate on the board about what to teach students about evolution. Wyatt is part of the board's moderate bloc.
In the 10th District, conservative incumbent Republican Steve Abrams of Arkansas City won re-election over Tim Aiken, a school board member from Derby, with 53 percent of the vote.
GOP House leader loses primary bid
House Speaker Pro Tem John Ballou of Gardner lost his primary race to Mike Kiegerl of Overland Park.
Taxes and Ballou's vote against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage were major issues in the race, which Kiegerl won with 1,584 votes to Ballou's 1,394 votes.
Pop machine's demise leads to free sodas
After the polls closed Tuesday, drinks were on the county at the Douglas County Courthouse.
The reason: The courthouse's stalwart pop machine in the basement was on the fritz, after its compressor started spewing sparks Monday morning.
Bill Bell, the county's director of buildings and grounds, surveyed the supply of free drinks, jokingly wondering why the menu was limited to Pepsi, Coke, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper and Sprite.
For election workers and the dozens of candidates and observers who piled into the courthouse after the polls had closed, the cereal malt beverages would just have to wait a little bit longer.
"I question their choice of beverages," Bell said. "That's all I'll say."