Highberger beating third-party candidate; many other state legislators face no opposition

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Kansas Statehouse in Topeka

Rep. Dennis “Boog” Highberger was handily beating a third-party candidate, while four other Lawrence legislators coasted to victory without opposition on Tuesday.

Highberger, D-Lawrence, won his fourth term to represent Kansas House District 46, which includes the University of Kansas campus and much of East Lawrence and North Lawrence. Unofficial results showed Highberger ahead of Libertarian candidate Dante Javaheri by about 7,300 votes, 86% to 14%.

Highberger is a Lawrence attorney and former Lawrence city commissioner.

Longtime state legislators Rep. Barbara Ballard and Sen. Marci Francisco also won reelection. The two Democrats faced no Republican opposition in Lawrence districts where Democrats significantly outnumber registered Republicans. Ballard’s win marks her 15th term serving Kansas House District 44, dating back to 1993. Francisco will begin her fifth term serving Kansas Senate District 2, dating back to 2004.

Ballard’s 44th District includes large parts of west Lawrence, while Francisco’s Second District covers much of Lawrence north of 23rd Street and also includes Lecompton and large amounts of Jefferson County.

Ballard is an administrator at KU’s Dole Institute of Politics, and Francisco is a former Lawrence mayor.

Lawrence barbershop owner and former mayor Mike Amyx won his second term representing Kansas House District 45, which includes parts of far west Lawrence, Lecompton and much of rural western Douglas County. Amyx, a Democrat, also faced no opposition.

Two new faces will join the Douglas County delegation after winning uncontested races. Christina Haswood, D-Lawrence, won her first term to serve Kansas House District 10, which previously was held by Lawrence Democrat Eileen Horn, who did not seek reelection. Haswood, 26, will become the youngest member of the Kansas Legislature, and will be only the third Native American member in history. Haswood is a member of the Navajo Nation, and works as a research assistant for the National Council of Urban Indian Health and the Center for American Indian Community Health.

The 10th District includes much of Lawrence south of 19th Street and also includes Baldwin City and the southeast parts of rural Douglas County.

Lance Neelly, a Tonganoxie Republican, faced no Democratic challenger in Kansas House District 42. It includes Eudora and rural northeast Douglas County and parts of Leavenworth County. Neelly, who works for a security company, beat incumbent Rep. Jim Karleskint in the August GOP primary.

In another uncontested race, Topeka Democrat Ann Mah won reelection to the Kansas State Board of Education District 4, which represents Lawrence and much of Jefferson, Shawnee and Osage counties.


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