Posts tagged with Davis

Results, reaction as Kansas election returns come in

11:07 p.m.

Paul Davis has conceded his race against Gov. Sam Brownback.

None by Peter Hancock

None by Peter Hancock

10:55 p.m.

Brownback widening lead over Davisby Peter Hancock

With complete results in from Johnson and Wyandotte counties, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has established a lead over Democratic challenger Paul Davis that may hold up through the night.

As of about 10:30 p.m., the Kansas Secretary of State’s website showed Brownback leading 49-47 percent, a difference of more than 12,000 votes.

That total, however, did not include the complete results from Johnson County, the state’s largest county, where Brownback edged out Davis by about 3,000 votes, 49-48 percent.

Brownback also edged out a win in Sedgwick County, the state’s second largest county.

Complete returns were not yet in from Shawnee, Wyandotte or Leavenworth counties, but it is not immediately clear whether there are enough votes there to be had for Davis to close the gap.

Davis had been counting on strong support from moderate Republicans to unseat the incumbent governor. Many of them converged on Lawrence to attend Davis’ election watch party at Abe & Jake’s landing.

But as returns continue coming in, the crowd at Abe & Jake’s has gotten smaller and quieter.

Supporters gather for the watch party for democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence.

Supporters gather for the watch party for democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence. by Nick Krug

10:15 p.m.

The Associated Press calls U.S. Senate, House races in Kansas:

9:59 p.m.

With 1881 of 3479 precincts reporting, Republican incumbent Pat Roberts leads independent Greg Orman, 52% to 44%, a difference of over 40,000 votes.

CBS, Fox and NBC have all called the race for Roberts.

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None by Fox News

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9:40 p.m.

Lawrence voters have defeated a proposed sales tax to fund a new $28 million police headquarters facility by a narrow margin of about 52 percent to 48 percent

The measure lost by 915 votes, with 14,136 against and 13,221 for.

None by Chad Lawhorn

None by Chad Lawhorn

None by Chad Lawhorn

9:16 p.m.

Meaningful votes yet to be countedby Chad Lawhorn

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew has given us a new report that shows what precincts still have votes to be counted. There are some big West Lawrence districts that remain to be counted. I’ve looked at the list quickly, but it appears the Brandon Woods district is still out. Based on numbers early in the day, turnout was quite heavy at Brandon Woods. There are still a lot of meaningful votes to be counted.

But not all the votes yet to be counted are from West Lawrence. The votes from the Cider Gallery in East Lawrence also appear to be out. The bottom-line is this sales tax vote will come down to the wire. It is unlike any sales tax or bond issue vote we have had in the last 20 years. It is much closer than past elections.

9:01 p.m.

Opponents of police sales tax expect close voteby Chad Lawhorn

I’ve had a chance to talk to a couple of the opponents to the police sales tax issue. They too said they were expecting a close vote. We’ll see how the votes change as the West Lawrence votes come in, but at least one opponent said he doesn’t think Republicans, for instance, are favoring this sales tax anymore than Democrats.

“From the people I have talked to, I don’t think this is split along party lines,” said Conor Brown, one of the leaders of the citizens group that has formed against the sales tax.

What opposition leaders think the election is increasingly about is a referendum on the current City Commission and its past support of Rock Chalk Park, which was a contentious issue in part because portions of the project were awarded without going through the city’s bidding process.

“This is a chance for the citizens of Lawrence to show their displeasure with the commission,” said Greg Robinson, an opponent of the sales tax. “If people are sick and tired of how they are running things, this is their way to express it. There is nothing wrong with that. I think that is why this is so tight.”

None by Chad Lawhorn

None by Chad Lawhorn

8:55 p.m.

The Associated Press calls two Kansas races for Republican incumbents:

8:37 p.m.

Reaction to early police headquarters vote totalsby Chad Lawhorn

Reaction is starting to come in as the vote totals for the Lawrence police headquarters sales tax come in. I had a chance to chat with Lawrence City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer. When we chatted the police headquarters vote was up slightly. Now it is down slightly.

He told me he came into this evening expecting it to be very tight. He said several factors are playing into the closeness of the race.

“The amount of money is concerning some people,” Farmer said. “We do have a lot of stuff going on, but it is not beyond our means.”

He said he thinks the public is fairly united on the need for a new police headquarters facility, but said some voters are opposing the project based on other city commission decisions. When I asked him if he was talking about the previous Rock Chalk Park sports complex votes, he said that was playing a role with some voters. Farmer said he’s convinced the majority of the public eventually will view the commission’s decision to proceed with Rock Chalk Park as a positive development.

When I asked him whether this vote was shaping up to be a referendum on the City Commission, he said he wasn’t sure.

“It may be a referendum on priorities,” he said.

Farmer expressed frustration that the issue may not be decided on the merits of the police facility question.

“I think there are a lot of other things going on that aren’t related to the need of police facility,” Farmer said.

None by Chad Lawhorn

None by Chad Lawhorn

8:32 p.m.

Some scenes from watch parties in Lawrence and Topeka, via Journal-World photographers Mike Yoder and Nick Krug:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis speaks in a private meeting with his supporters on Nov. 4, 2014, at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis speaks in a private meeting with his supporters on Nov. 4, 2014, at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence. by Nick Krug

Attendees at the Kansas Republican Party watch party await election results, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka.

Attendees at the Kansas Republican Party watch party await election results, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka. by Mike Yoder

Attendees at the Kansas Republican Party watch party listen to a speech by State Sen. Susan Wagle, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka.

Attendees at the Kansas Republican Party watch party listen to a speech by State Sen. Susan Wagle, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka. by Mike Yoder

Libertarian candidate for Kansas governor Keen Umbehr, right, waits for results at his campaign's watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka.

Libertarian candidate for Kansas governor Keen Umbehr, right, waits for results at his campaign's watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka. by Mike Yoder

A group takes a silly picture in a photo booth at the Greg Orman election watch party Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2014, at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park.

A group takes a silly picture in a photo booth at the Greg Orman election watch party Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2014, at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park. by John Young

We'll be posting more photos throughout the night in this photo gallery:

8:24 p.m.

Police headquarters updateby Chad Lawhorn

The police headquarters sales tax vote has begun its roller coaster ride. It was winning after advance votes were cast. It is losing now that 11 of 64 precincts are reporting.

No: 51 percent.

Yes: 48 percent.

Vote difference is 338 votes. The big question is where did these votes come from? No official word on which precincts these include, but historically, some of the first votes counted are from eastern Lawrence. Supporters of the sales tax are counting on good West Lawrence support.

8:14 p.m.

Kansas House races, Districts 10 and 46by Caitlin Doornbos

Democratic State House candidates Rep. John Wilson, running for District 10, and Dennis “Boog” Highberger, running for District 46, are waiting for Douglas County’s election results to filter in from the Douglas County Democrats’ watch party at Maceli’s, 1013 New Hampshire St.

Wilson said he is “feeling really optimistic” about his chances for re-election after visiting polling locations throughout the day. He said he was encouraged by the high number of voters he saw, specifically in Vinland and Baldwin City.

Wilson, who was endorsed last month by the Kansas National Education Association, said he attributed the increased voter turnout to pressing close-to-home issues such as education.

“When it comes to education, I think people come out to vote if they think it’s in peril,” Wilson said.

Highberger called the 2014 election “the most important in (his) lifetime” – not because he is running, he said, but because of the political climate in Kansas. Highberger has been an outspoken supporter of Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor.

While attending Davis' tour stop in Lawrence last week, Highberger said he is confident he can handle filling Davis’ vacancy in the 46th District.

“Well, I think they’re big shoes to fill,” Highberger said, “but I wear size 13s so I think I will be able to do that.”

Their opponents, Republicans Nick VanWyhe and J. Douglas “Doug” Robinson, respectively, are having casual nights awaiting the results that will determine their next two years. Neither candidate said he was attending a watch party.

VanWyhe, who was in the middle of a workout at his gym when I caught up with him, said he was “feeling good” and that he was “ready to see the results.”

Robinson, who was unable to be reached by phone, said on his campaign Facebook page that he would be missing the election results as he works the night shift at his job at Home Depot. 

“I'll be at work this evening till the store closes wondering what is in the news, focused on helping customers, stocking shelves, sweeping floors,” Robinson wrote. “Today will be a check on the vital signs of America.”

8:01 p.m.

Douglas County announces advance votesby Chad Lawhorn

Advance votes have come in: Here’s a look at Douglas County totals. With about 10,000 ballots cast should be a good sample of voter sentiment:

Police headquarters sales tax: 50.6 percent yes. 49.3 percent no.

Davis: 77.9 percent

Brownback: 20.1 percent

Orman: 74 percent

Roberts 23.1 percent

Get ready for a long night on the police headquarters vote. All indications are that it is a coin flip at the moment. It has a 112 vote lead with the advance vote now tallied.

7:58 p.m.

Sedgwick County reporting problemsby Peter Hancock

Radio station KFDI in Wichita is reporting that a server in the Sedgwick County Election Commissioner’s office went down about 7:05 p.m., preventing officials there from uploading election results.

None by KFDI News

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman has already come under criticism this year for snafus such as sending ballots to overseas military personnel that included the wrong date for the general election and for recruiting her own family and friends to work at the polls.

Early reports from the Wichita area indicated very heavy voter turnout for this election. Depending on how long it takes to repair the problem, computer glitches in the state’s second largest county could mean a late night for everybody.

7:32 p.m.

Journal-World reporter Peter Hancock, Davis-Docking watch party

On most Election Nights, the state Republican and Democratic parties would each hold unified watch parties in Topeka to watch the returns come in, and the two candidates for governor would be the stars of the show.

But on the Democratic side this year, Paul Davis and his running mate Jill Docking are hosting a watch party of their own in Davis’ hometown of Lawrence, separate from the state party’s festivities in Topeka.

Josh Erbmann, a video support worker comes down from a ladder while preparing for a watch party for democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence.

Josh Erbmann, a video support worker comes down from a ladder while preparing for a watch party for democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at Abe & Jake's Landing in Lawrence. by Nick Krug

The reason? Let’s just say that if Davis wins, it will be largely because of the support he receives from moderate Republicans, all of whom want to celebrate, but few of whom want to do it in a room packed with Democrats.

Davis campaign officials try to put it more delicately. They say the party reflects the bipartisan spirit Davis hopes to bring to the governor’s office if he’s elected.

But looking around the venue at Abe & Jake’s Landing in downtown Lawrence, one thing is clear. Just like in his campaign materials and TV commercials, the word “Democrat” appears nowhere on the banners, table centerpieces or any other spot in the room.

7:27 p.m.

Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn, Douglas County Courthouse

Lots of people have voted in Douglas County, and lots of people voted early.

I just chatted with Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew now the polls have closed, and he said he’s expecting somewhere around 45,000 people to have cast ballots in this mid-term election. That would equate to about a 60 percent voter turnout.

One number worth noting is that the number of people who voted in advance really exploded this year. Shew says the number is about 11,000 advance ballots, which is up from about 5,000 in both 2006 and 2010.

Shew hopes to have those ballots counted and totals released by 8 p.m. Advance numbers are usually a good indicator of how the election is going to play out the rest of the evening. With so many advance ballots, it may be a particularly good predictor tonight.

I’m covering the police headquarters sales tax vote this evening, and in talking with city officials earlier this evening, I know they’ll be watching those numbers closely as well. They’ll also be looking for signs of what turnout was in West Lawrence. There is feeling among supporters of the sales tax that they’re going to need to get a fair amount of votes from the west.

As for the actual counting of votes tonight, Shew hates to predict when he’ll be done, but he said hopefully by 10:30 or 11 p.m. which would be about an hour later than normal. Some of you have asked in recent days about the process. No longer are all the paper ballots fed into a large voting counting machine at the Douglas County Courthouse. Instead votes are actually counted at the precincts. When you insert your ballot into the electronic box at your polling place, it is scanned and counted at that point. When the ballots arrive at the Douglas County Courthouse, Shew downloads the information from the machine, does a couple of audits, and then we have the results.

I’m stationed here at the Courthouse, so I’ll let you know as we start getting ballots in from various polling places.

7:12 p.m.

Polls are now closed across much of Kansas. The Douglas County elections office expects to release advance results sometime around or after 7:30 p.m.

In the meantime, catch up on today's coverage from the polls ...

Elections 2014 blog: Reporting from the polls

... and reports on the races themselves from Journal-World reporter Peter Hancock:

Elections 2014 blog: Voter privacy concerns raised again

Elections 2014 blog: V.P. Biden says Orman 'with us'

Elections 2014 blog: If elected, Docking won’t seek cabinet post, will likely focus on education

In addition, Journal-World photographers will be updating this gallery throughout the night:

Check back for reports from campaign watch parties as results begin to come in.

Reply 13 comments from Steve Jacob Marc Wilborn Fred St. Aubyn Richard Heckler Brock Masters Brad Hightower

Reporting from the polls

6:08 p.m.

Chatter about the police headquarters sales tax issue, via Chad Lawhorn:

I have been known to put the “un” in unscientific, especially on Election Day. I’ve spent almost two hours chatting with voters at various precincts across the city, particularly about their thoughts on the police headquarters sales tax issue. Talking with a few voters certainly doesn’t produce any scientific results, but I’ll share what I heard anyway.

In short, there are signs the city is really divided on the issue. The issue does not seem to be brimming with enthusiasm, but there are some voters supporting the sales tax despite being less than enthused. In total, I talked with nine voters, and had two who told me they voted for the sales tax, and I had five who said or either strongly indicated they voted against it. Two others didn’t say. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting comments.

•“It was not a clear cut issue, but I voted for it,” said Bill Blevins, who was voting at the American Legion along West Sixth Street. “I want other people to help pay for it. I felt like if we didn’t pass it, we would be put in a position where they would try to raise our property taxes for it.”

• “It was kind of mixed,” said a college-aged student voting at Presbyterian Manor off Kasold Drive who did not want to give her name. “I had a lot of college students tell me not to vote for it because they thought it needed to be better planned.”

• “I think the city has a lot more on its plate now than what it can pay for,” said Doug, a voter at Presbyterian Manor who did not want to give his last name. “They need to pay some things off before they start paying on a police station.” Doug specifically mentioned the Rock Chalk Park sports complex as an issue that gave him pause about the city’s finances.

• “I voted yes,” said Paul Calnon, who voted at the Cider Gallery in East Lawrence. “I think it had its issues, but on balance, I think yes was the best way to go.” Calnon said he did wish the city would have started its campaign for the sales tax earlier in order to give voters more time to consider the issue.

• “It was pretty clear cut for me. I don’t think they need one,” said Diana Lehmann, who was voting at the Senior Center in downtown. “I don’t like the idea of a new tax.” Lehmann said she supports the police department but wants the city to look for ways to use space it already has, and is urging city officials to be more budget conscious.

• “I don’t think it is going to pass,” said Amy Lee. “I really don’t like the regressive sales tax. I think they need a facility, but I’m not sure this was the way to do it.” A friend who was with Lee at the polls said she voted against the sales tax, and said she would have preferred the city propose a property tax increase. She said the fact the state charges sales tax on food made it difficult for her to support a sales tax.

• “My main thing was to come out and vote against Brownback,” said one unidentified voter at the Cider Gallery in East Lawrence. “I wasn’t really sure what was the best way to go on the police issue.” This voter may be the key to the election. If you can tell me how rank-and-file Democrats are thinking about the police sales tax, I think I can predict the outcome of this election. There are a lot of Democrats at the polls today in Lawrence.

How will people who are mainly focused on the governor and senate races view this sales tax? I have heard from some longtime Democrats who have expressed concern that Democrats don’t like to vote for a sales tax because they believe it has a disproportionate impact on the poor. But, I remember that a lot of Democrats in 2008 voted for sales taxes to support the public transit system and infrastructure improvements in the city. Sales taxes in this town can win Democrats over. Whether this one has, is the big question of the night.

5:56 p.m.

With an hour to go until polls close, there are reports of long lines at several sites around Lawrence.

None by Amy Follmer

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But remember ...

None by Douglas Co Elections

5:17 p.m.

Another report on turnout from J-W reporter Karen Dillon:

The hard-fought battles for Kansas governor and U.S. Senator were drawing large numbers of voters to the polls Tuesday, with many waiting in lines.

Clayton Barker, Kansas Republican Party executive director, said the political fight for governor and senator were reminiscent of the governor's race in 1990.

“We haven't seen a fight like this since Hayden-Finney,” he said.

As he spoke, people manning 30 phone banks were making late calls to voters around the state urging them to exercise their right to vote.

Barker and Joan Wagnon, Kansas Democratic Party chairwoman, said the turnout appeared to be heavy in many places across the state but there were few problems.

Clara Holladay completes her mid-term election ballot Tuesday morning at Precinct 39, located at the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St.

Clara Holladay completes her mid-term election ballot Tuesday morning at Precinct 39, located at the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St. by Mike Yoder

Almost 230,000 Kansans cast ballots before the polls opened on Election Day, 10,000 of them in Douglas County.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach predicted that more than 50 percent of all registered voters, about 872,000 people, would vote Tuesday.

In Douglas County, voter turnout was at 34.8 percent by 2 p.m. Six Lawrence precincts had more than 45 percent turnout with five hours left before the polls closed.

Kobach spokeswoman Kay Curtis said total turnout might not be known until the end of the week.

Wagnon and Barker reported a smattering of complaints but said overall the election seemed to be going smoothly.

The biggest problems, they said, were a few voting machine glitches and not enough iPads to check in people, both of which resulted in delays and long lines.

4:03 p.m.

Notable turnout numbers, via Chad Lawhorn:

West Lawrence is coming out to vote today in large numbers. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew put together a report showing voter turnout totals as of 2 p.m., and six Lawrence precincts — five of them in West Lawrence — already had a more than 45 percent voter turnout, and that was with five hours left before the polls close.

Countywide, voter turnout was at 34.8 percent at 2 p.m. Vote totals are running ahead of the pace set in both the 2010 and 2006 elections.

Here’s a look at the six precincts that are leading the way thus far in voter turnout in Lawrence:

• Brandon Woods retirement center, 1501 Inverness: 55.3 percent;

• American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth Street: 51.5 percent

• Vintage Church: 1501 New Hampshire: 51.1 percent

• Pioneer Ridge retirement center: 47.4 percent

• Presbyterian Manor retirement center: 45.5 percent

• Golf Course Superintendent Association: 45.2 percent.

There are four precincts in the city that had voter turnout less than 20 percent as of 2 p.m. They are:

• KU Burge Union, 1601 Irving Hill Road: 5.6 percent

• Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Massachusetts: 19.7 percent

• Schwelger Elementary: 2201 Ousdahl: 19.8 percent

• United Way service center: 2518 Ridge Court: 19.8 percent

It is worth noting all four of those low-turnout precincts are east of Iowa Street. Longtime election-observers in Lawrence often have paid close attention to the east-west split of the vote in town. Whether the east-west split will make much difference in state races is uncertain, but some observers believe a strong West Lawrence turnout may bring out supporters for the police headquarters sales tax.

3:45 p.m.

Chad Lawhorn adds some insight into past votes on sales tax issues in Lawrence:

I’ve had my special Election Day intravenous drip of Mountain Dew, and I’m now on the job to cover today’s vote regarding the 0.2 percent sales tax to fund a new Lawrence police headquarters facility. In preparation of the returns this evening, I decided to do a little research on how special tax questions have fared in Lawrence over the years.

I could not remember the last time a tax issue — whether it be a sales tax, school bond election or other such measure — failed to win approval in Lawrence. I know the school district did lose at least one election in the 1990s when it was trying to gain approval to build a second high school.

Long story short, I’m still not certain when the last time a tax issue lost in Lawrence. I have easy access to election results dating back to 2003, and there hasn’t been a tax issue defeated in Lawrence since that time. Here’s a look:

• 2013 USD 497 $92.5 million bond issue: 72 percent yes.

• 2010 $18 million library bond issue: 55 percent yes.

• 2008 Infrastructure sales tax issue: 73 percent yes.

• 2008 Public transit sales tax issue: 70 percent yes.

• 2008 Public transit enhancement sales tax issue: 68 percent yes.

• 2005 USD 497 $54.1 million bond issue: 68 percent yes.

• 2005 USD 497 $8.9 million bond issue: 71 percent yes

• 2003 USD 497 $59 million bond issue: 55 percent yes

What any of this means for the vote on the 0.2 percent sales tax for police, is anybody’s guess. But there certainly has been an opposition movement in this election, which hasn’t always been the case in all the other elections. It may be interesting to keep these numbers in mind as we watch the returns come in tonight.

3:35 p.m.

Peter Hancock says the 2014 election may be remembered as the starting point for a new and novel kind “get-out-the-vote” tactic: threatening people with public humiliation if they don’t turn out to vote.

People who have received such messages have described them as “Orwellian” and complained that they are an invasion of privacy.

But another problem, it turns out, is that groups sending out those messages don’t always get their facts right.

Read more at Peter's blog post.

1:05 p.m.

Nearly 230,000 Kansas voters had cast their ballots before the polls opened on Election Day.

The Kansas secretary of state's office says that 114,690 mail-in ballots had been turned in by Tuesday morning, less than in 2010. Another 115,079 advance voters had gone to the polls, an increase from 2010.


The Lawrence Humane Society is having it own kind of Election Day special! Cast your vote, then give a pet a home forever!

None by Lawrence Humane

12:10 p.m.

None by University of Kansas

11:46 a.m.

Here are some specific numbers for Tuesday's elections: By 10:30 a.m., more than 8,754 people had voted in Douglas County, according to voter tabulations just released by Jameson Shew, Douglas County Clerk. Before the polls opened, 10,086 of Douglas County's 75,000 voters had voted in the days leading up to Tuesday. In 2010 and in 2006, about 35,000 voters turned out. Shew is expecting possibly 45,000 voters today.

11:09 a.m.

The Journal-World's Karen Dillon reports that Jameson Shew, Douglas County Clerk, said polling workers are issuing "a ton of provisional ballots today." That's because there is a high number of voters. In those situations, Shew said, "casual voters" forget to register, change addresses, etc.

Douglas County has 75,000 registered voters and normally the turnout is around 35,000. Shew said he is expecting the turnout to be about 45,000, which is more than 60 percent. In pre-Election Day voting, more than 10,000 had voted or 13 percent.

10:55 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts hoped Kansas' deep Republican roots would hold firm Tuesday as he sought to fend off a surprisingly staunch challenge from a suburban Kansas City businessman pledging to bring a nonpartisan voice to Washington.

Should Greg Orman defeat the three-term senator in one of the nation's most unusual and potentially pivotal races, he would become Kansas' first independent in the U.S. Senate. In fact, the state hasn't elected anyone but Republicans to the office since 1932. Read more on the race for Kansas' U.S. Senate seat.

Another great voting shot from Journal-World photographer Mike Yoder:

Voters cast their ballots early on Election Day at Checkers grocery store at 23rd and Louisiana in Lawrence.

Voters cast their ballots early on Election Day at Checkers grocery store at 23rd and Louisiana in Lawrence. by Mike Yoder

9:45 a.m.

As polls opened across the state, the Kansas governor's race remained close because of doubts about tax cuts enacted by legislators in 2012 and 2013 at Gov. Sam Brownback's urging. The state has dropped its top personal income tax rate by 26 percent and exempted the owners of 191,000 businesses from income taxes altogether — and future cuts are promised. Read more by Associated Press writer John Hanna.

9:05 a.m.

None by Charles Neiss

8:35 a.m.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew reported that Precinct 49, Corpus Christi had been evacuated because of a fire alarm. "We will be back in as soon as we are all cleared," Shew said in an email. The precinct reopened within minutes; the alarm was caused by construction in the building, Shew said in an email.

8:25 a.m.

Bruce Balke of Eudora says the election machine at the fire station in Eudora at 20th and Church Streets is broken and polling workers are stacking the ballots to be counted later. He said he called the Douglas County Clerk's office to report the machine outage. Balke said he wished the poll attendants would have told him before he voted so he would have had the chance to come back later when the machine was fixed, as he wasn't comfortable leaving his ballot when it hadn't been counted. "This is a tight race," he said. "I just don't know about that."

Long lines formed early at the polling station at Checkers grocery store at 23rd and Louisiana.

Long lines formed early at the polling station at Checkers grocery store at 23rd and Louisiana. by Mike Yoder

Voting has started in Douglas County: Election Day is finally here! If you're wondering where to cast your vote, you can find precinct maps and a sample ballot at the Douglas County Clerk Voting and Election site.

Check back throughout the day for updated information from the polls as the elections unfold. And check the Journal-World's Elections 2014 site for updated stories from across the state.

Reply 9 comments from Thesychophant Fred St. Aubyn Lawrence Freeman William Weissbeck Phillip Chappuie Clara Westphal Robert Kidder

Poll: Brownback 47%; Davis 40%

A new poll out today shows Republican Gov. Sam Brownback with a lead over his likely Democratic challenger, Rep. Paul Davis of Lawrence.

The survey by Rasmussen Reports of 750 likely voters conducted April 16-17 shows Browback leading, 47 percent to 40 percent, with 6 percent preferring somebody else, and 7 percent undecided. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The polling firm also found GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas with a strong lead in a hypothetical match-up with former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, 54-37 percent.

Last week, the New York Times published a story saying Sebelius had been urged to return to Kansas and run against Roberts. But a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services secretary said Friday that she is not considering such a bid.

In October, SurveyUSA reported Brownback trailing 39-43 percent. But that was a survey of registered voters. The Rasmussen survey of likely voters may be more reflective of the population that actually turns out to vote in November.

Reply 7 comments from Mike Ford Phillip Chappuie Dan Eyler Thesychophant Lynn Grant Thomas Bryce Jr.

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, reportedly claimed again last week that school funding cuts under Gov. Sam Brownback's administration have led to "thousands" of teacher layoffs, a claim that has already been shown to be greatly exaggerated.

According to a report in the Kansas City Star, Davis reasserted that claim last Wednesday during a fundraising event in Johnson County.

But even after Brownback compared education to defense spending in his first State of the State speech — a comparison Davis agreed with — the governor submitted a budget the next day with what the Democrat called the largest cut in school spending in state history.

The result: thousands of teacher layoffs and a myriad of school fees that parents must pay.

“This is foolishness,” said Davis, adding that it’s “not who we are as a people. It’s time for us to get things right.”

Although the story itself did not put quote marks around the phrase, Star reporter Steve Kraske confirmed in an email that Davis used the word "thousands" in reference to teacher layoffs.

Davis made a similar claim when he gave the Democratic response to Brownback's State of the State address in January, and the Journal-World reported afterward that the claim was greatly exaggerated.

According to official state data, only 811 teachers lost their jobs due to a "reduction in force" between 2009 and 2013.

Because Brownback didn't come into office until January 2011, only 201 of those can actually be attributed to his tenure in office - those that occurred in the 2011-2012, and the 2012-2013 academic years.

Layoffs, of course, are not the only way to reduce the size of a workforce. Many districts used attrition during the Great Recession - not replacing teachers who retired, changed careers or moved out of the area.

Since Brownback became governor, the total number of full time equivalent teachers employed in public schools has actually grown slightly, from 34,074.8 in his first full year in office, to 34,772.8 this year. That is still below the pre-recession number of 34,978.8 during the 2008-2009 school year.

Officials from Davis' campaign did not return phone calls made last week seeking comment. Davis himself said this week that he would have his office share with the Journal-World the information on which the claim was based, but so far we've not received it.

Reply 13 comments from James Howlette Dave Trabert Merrillswife Mark Rainey Stevenking To Sides Thomas Bryce Jr. Blackcopter

Brownback getting national media buzz

Gov. Sam Brownback was the subject of two national pieces this week.

Yahoo News focused on his potential as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

"His quiet, yet ambitious, work in Kansas has proceeded without major controversies of the sort that have helped define Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who fought a pitched battle with public-sector unions, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was a magnet for viral controversies even before the recent allegations of misconduct surrounding the closure of George Washington Bridge lanes," wrote Chris Moody. Here is a link to that story.

And The Daily Caller dissected the pros and cons of Brownback's tax policy in this story.

This attention follows a Feb. 13 piece in the New York Times, headlined "Brownback Leads Kansas in Sharp Right Turn."

Meanwhile in Kansas, Brownback faces a tough re-election challenge against House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. The race is neck-and-neck, according to a recentpoll.

Reply 9 comments from Bob Smith James Howlette Frankie8 Richard Heckler Bluekansas Cille_king

Publication lists Kansas governorship among ‘most likely to flip’

National Journal, a non-partisan political publication, includes the Kansas gubernatorial election among its list of 15 governorships "most likely to flip" from one major political party to the other.

"By all rights, Kansas should be safe Republican territory, but it features the sleeper race of the cycle," the National Journal states, ranking the race between Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, No. 10 among the top 15.

The article mentions past Democratic successes for governor in Kansas, the warfare between moderates and conservatives in the Republican Party and polling that indicates a tight race.

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