Topeka — Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger claimed victory Tuesday as Kansas voters gave her a second four-year term.
"I loved winning four years ago, but that was winning without a record," said Praeger, of Lawrence. "To be able to come back now and to win with a record, it feels very good."
Praeger, a Republican, is a former Lawrence city commissioner and mayor. She also served terms in the Kansas House and Senate before winning statewide office in 2002.
Her campaign against Rep. Bonnie Sharp, D-Kansas City, was low-key, unlike the contentious bout against conservative Rep. Eric Carter in the Aug. 1 primary.
Sharp has been in the Legislature for 10 years and for the past six years was the ranking Democrat on the House Insurance Committee.
Carter accused Praeger, a moderate, of not doing her job and causing higher health insurance premiums in Kansas. He also said she was more cozy with the Democrats than Republicans - a criticism blunted by support from such Kansas GOP icons as Nancy Kassebaum Baker and Bob Dole.
As insurance commissioner, Praeger regulates the state's $11 billion insurance industry. There are 1,690 insurance companies licensed in Kansas, including 112 companies admitted to doing business in Kansas during Praeger's first term. Since taking office, Praeger says she has recovered $40 million for Kansans.
Richard Todd, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party, said voters recognized Praeger's ability to bring more insurance companies and competition to the state.
"It's a reflection of her overall job performance and what people recognize she's done in the department since she's been there," Todd said.
Also on the ballot was Libertarian Patrick Wilbur, of Lawrence.