In Barton County, the only contested race for Kansas House of Representatives was for the 113th District, which includes Southeastern Barton County and Stafford County, as well as parts of Rice and Pawnee counties. Two hours after the polls closed and preliminary results were reported, it was becoming clear that Greg Lewis, R-St. John would win.
The lifetime St. John resident received 88 percent of Stafford County voter support with 1,034 votes.
He was the clear winner in Rice County, with 62 percent of 12 precincts reporting, a total of 437 votes. Pawnee County with all three precincts reporting,for 78 percent, a total of 35 votes.
With his family gathered at home, Lewis watched as the results came in.
“I’m truly humbled by the support I’ve received across the district, and it’s clear that the voters are sending a message that they are ready for change in Topeka,” he said.
As Barton County’s results were reported, Lewis received only 48 percent support, a total of 264 votes from three precincts.
Lewis was appointed by the Republican leadership in March, 2015, to serve the 113th District, completing the unexpired term of Rep. Basil Dannebohm, who resigned shortly after being elected due to health issues.
As a self-employed farmer and retired rancher in the St. John area, he served on the USD 350 St. John - Hudson Board of Education for eight years and was precinct committeeman for Hayes Township in Stafford County.
During his first term, he familiarized himself with the needs of his district and connected with constituents through face-to-face meetings, as well as legislative procedure in Topeka. In visits to local civic clubs, he has stated two of his top concerns are the needs for real revenue reform and independent representation of the rural way of life. He plans to continue to fight for stabilizing property taxes and restoring fiscal responsibility to our state, he stated in a written survey for the Pratt Tribune in July.
“It looks like leadership in the House will change, and with that, chairmanships on committees are likely to change too,” he said. “Next session, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and do some real work for the district and the state.”
Jon L. Prescott, R-Ellinwood, won Barton County with three districts reporting. He received 53 percent which included a total of 292 votes.
The lifelong Ellinwood resident, attended university at Fort Hays State, and is proud of his 33 year career in business.
“I’m excited about the Barton County turnout,” Prescott said as results became available. “This has been a great experience, and I believe I will try again. I met a lot of wonderful people, and it was a privilege to be part of the democratic process.”
Running unopposed in their districts were Tory Arnberger, R-Great Bend, for Rep. Dist. 112, and Troy Waymaster, R-Russell, Rep. Dist. 109, Northern Barton County. He received 196 votes in Barton County.
Arnberger is running for the seat currently held by outgoing Rep. John Edmunds, R-Great Bend, who is retiring at the end of his term.
A Spring graduate of Fort Hays State University, Arnberger is a newcomer to politics. While a student, she has served as the National Mountain Plains Vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America- Phi Beta Lambda, VIP Ambassador to the FHSU President, Student Senator for FHSU, was selected for the Governor’s Internship Program, and served in the Kansas Department for Children and Families. She has served as Barton County Co-Chair for the Moran for Kansas Campaign, worked as an intern for the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. Currently she works as a substitute teacher for USD 428 Great Bend.
Early on, Arnberger held an election night watch party at Charlie’s, Great Bend, Tuesday night.
“It’s more of a watch party for all of the primary elections in the state of Kansas versus just my campaign,” she said. “Hopefully, the younger generation will come out and get involved with politics.”
As results came in, the party moved to the Roger Marshall election watch party, where the Tribune caught up with Arnberger to share with her the Barton County support for her with 2,784 voters turning out.
“I’m humbled to have received the support I have and I’m so thankful to those who came out to vote for me,” Arnberger said. “This is one more step to the House of Representatives.”
Arnberger shared that she is pleased to have sparked interest in the political process with members of her own generation.
“I’ve been approached by many who have asked me, so when do you move to Washington,” she said. “This is very exciting, and there simply aren’t words to describe all the emotions I am feeling right now.”