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Crowd welcomes Laura Kelly to Ellinwood
Laura Kelly, candidate for governor, shakes hands with Ellinwood resident George Martin, Saturday at the Historic Wolf Hotel. Also pictured in David Curtis, Stafford, a Democrat running for Kansas Representative, Dist. 113. - photo by Susan Thacker

Gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd Saturday at the Historic Wolf Hotel in Ellinwood. Fellow Democrat David Curtis, who is running for Kansas House of Representatives District 113, was also present at the meet-and-greet hosted by Barton County Democrats.

Kelly said the warm welcome she received Saturday was typical of what she’s seeing on the campaign trail.

“It’s everywhere we go,” she said. The day before, she met over 200 people at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Hays and a roomful of “very enthusiastic students” at Fort Hays State University.

“People are very engaged and enthused,” Kelly said of this year’s governor’s race. She noted that many have already cast ballots through advanced voting.

Aside from the campaign issues Kelly has stressed — which include the economy, health care and Kansas schools — she said she is concerned about what is going on in Dodge City, where county election officials moved the city’s sole polling site outside of the city limits due to construction at the regular site. After that, election officials sent newly registered voters an official certificate of registration that listed the wrong place to cast ballots.

Others in the audience were also commenting on the glitch in Dodge City elections that has made national news.

People are “working hard to reverse the impact,” Kelly said, noting a large turnout is expected in the election. Singer Melissa Etheridge, who hails from Kansas, has reportedly chartered a bus to take people to the polls. She is tweeting for volunteers to help get voters to the polls.

“I think people understand how critical this election is and are doing their part to make sure Kansas stays on the right track and on the road to recovery,” Kelly said.

Pam Martin from Women 4 Kansas - Barton County, said that non-partisan group will be offering rides to the polls in Barton County as well.

Curtis spoke to the audience briefly before Kelly was introduced.

“Please get out and support all of the Democrats on the ticket so we can bring some civility and responsibility back to Kansas,” Curtis said.

While Ellinwood resident George Martin was enjoying the large turnout and asked, “Have you ever seen so many (Barton County) Democrats in one place?”, Great Bend resident Beverly Komarek said not everyone who crowded into the hotel’s Sunflower room Saturday was a Democrat. The Topeka Capital Journal reports more than two dozen current and former Kansas Republican lawmakers have endorsed Kelly for governor.

About Laura Kelly

At, the candidate notes she grew up in a career military family where she learned the importance of service, integrity and accountability. She was the long-time leader of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association and has served as a four-term state senator. Most recently, she fought to repeal the tax plan of Governor Sam Brownback. “She was key to building the bipartisan coalition to reverse Brownback’s tax plan putting Kansas on the road to fiscal recovery.”