A newly elected state lawmaker from Leavenworth who has been called to active duty in Iraq will be replaced in the Kansas Legislature by her former opponent.
Democratic precinct officials in Leavenworth County voted 5-1 last night to replace state Rep. Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, with Don Navinsky, a former Leavenworth County commissioner.
Meier defeated Navinsky in the Democratic Party primary last August.
Meier, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, had wanted former state Rep. Candy Ruff to take her place until she returned in January 2010.
Ruff criticized the five precinct officials who voted for Navinsky against Meier’s wishes, saying Navinsky was planning to challenge Meier again when she returned. “This is no way to treat this brave Army officer as she puts her life on the line for her country,” Ruff said.
Navinsky said he would step aside when Meier returns but refused to promise that he would not run against Meier in the 2010 primary.