Topeka — U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, who voted against every major initiative sought by Democratic leaders, but still faced a challenge on her right, easily defeated state Sen. Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha in the GOP primary.
Jenkins, in her first term, will get to defend her record in the Nov. 2 general election against Democrat Cheryl Hudspeth, a political newcomer from Girard who survived a three-person primary.
Jenkins’ first order of business will be to host a news conference today with the other Kansas GOP congressional winners. The title of the event is the “Nancy Pelosi Retirement Kickoff,” aimed at the current Democratic U.S. House speaker.
“Voters are fed up with the trillions in new spending and no clear plan to pay for it,” Jenkins said.
Hudspeth described the event as “just hype.” Hudspeth said she hoped the campaign would focus on the economy and federal tax policy and spending, and how that will affect schools, roads and social services.
The 2nd U.S. House District includes much of eastern Kansas, including western Douglas County, Leavenworth, Topeka and Manhattan.
During the GOP primary, Pyle criticized Jenkins’ positions on many issues dear to conservative voters.
Pyle said he opposed abortion while Jenkins said she supported abortion in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is at risk. Pyle blasted Jenkins for being one of nine Republicans to vote against an amendment to stop federal funds going to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has said none of those federal funds go toward abortions.
Pyle also criticized Jenkins for voting for a tax increase when she was in the state Legislature.
And Pyle toured the district with a huge display of mailings made by Jenkins in which she spent $420,000 in taxpayer funds through her congressional franking privilege. Pyle said the mailings were simply self-promoting pieces. Jenkins said they were necessary to communicate with constituents. Her campaign countered by slamming Pyle on spending taxpayer dollars for legislative travel.
Jenkins stuck to her theme that Washington spending and the federal deficit were out of control, and that Republicans like her could move to check Democrats.
She bested Pyle 57 pecent to 43 percent statewide and in Douglas County.
Jenkins, a former state House member, state senator, and state treasurer, was elected to Congress in 2008. She defeated Democrat Nancy Boyda, who served one term.
Meanwhile, Hudspeth emerged from a low-key Democratic Party primary, which included Thomas Koch of Leavenworth and Sean Tevis of Olathe.
Hudspeth said she has spent much of her life working in community and economic development. She has lived in Kansas since 1999, and over the past several years has spent most of her time caring for her husband, Tom, who was severely injured in a work-related car wreck.
That experience has persuaded her to run for office, she said. “When I wasn’t caring for him, I’ve been fighting health insurance companies and workers’ compensation companies,” Hudspeth said.
Also on the Nov. 2 general election ballot will be Libertarian Robert Garrard of Edgerton
11:43 p.m. update
Democrat Cheryl Hudspeth will face Republican Lynn Jenkins in the race for U.S. House, 2nd District, in November.
Hudspeth received 44 percent of the vote over opponents Thomas Koch and Sean Tevis.
Douglas County voters narrowly elected Hudspeth over Koch. Hudspeth received 38.5 percent of Democratic votes in the county and 39.5 percent in Lawrence. Koch received 32.8 percent in the county and 32.4 percent in Lawrence.
9:45 p.m. update
With all Douglas County precincts reporting, Lawrence Republicans voted in favor of Lynn Jenkins, giving her 63.9 percent of the vote to Dennis Pyle's 36.1 percent.
Jenkins received 60.8 percent of the county vote to Pyle's 36.1 percent.
9:33 p.m. update
From the Associated Press:
Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins has won the Republican nomination in her bid for a second term. Jenkins turned back a challenge Tuesday from state Sen. Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha in the 2nd Congressional District.
The 2nd District covers much of eastern Kansas and includes the cities of Manhattan, Topeka and Pittsburg, as well as Forts Riley and Leavenworth. Democrats in the district were choosing among three candidates in their primary Tuesday. Jenkins is a former two-term state treasurer.
She won her seat in the House by ousting incumbent Democrat Nancy Boyda in 2008.
9:22 p.m. update
Lynn Jenkins has won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House, 2nd District, according to the Associated Press.
Koch continues to gain on Hudspeth for the Dems. Those two are separated by less than 300 votes. Tevis has 24 percent.
8:40 p.m. update
The giant canyon between Jenkins and Pyle has closed some with 104 of 825 precincts reporting, but Pyle still has ground to make up with Jenkins having 59 percent of the vote.
Cheryl Hudspeth is losing ground to Koch and Tevis. With the same amount of precincts reporting, those results look like this:
- Hudspeth, 41 percent
- Koch, 35 percent
- Tevis, 24 percent
7:56 p.m. update
Pyle has gained just over three percent on Jenkins, though there is still a large gap for him to fill as results from today's primary are counted. It stands as Jenkins, 64 percent, Pyle, 36 percent.
7:38 p.m. update
Incumbent Lynn Jenkins is showing an early lead against opponent Dennis Pyle in the GOP race for U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District. Jenkins currently has 67.9 percent of the vote.
Cheryl Hudspeth currently has 55.3 percent of the Democrat vote, with Thomas Koch and Sean Tavis trailing at 35.5 percent and 9.2 percent respectively.