ST. JOHN — Rep. Mitch Holmes will trade his place in the Kansas House of Representatives for a spot in the Kansas Senate. Holmes became one of nine current House members who won a primary for the Kansas Senate.
St. John’s Holmes, a former 114th District House representative, won the 33rd District in the Kansas Senate primary and beat incumbent Ruth Teichman in a battle of Stafford County residents.
Holmes received 7,496 votes for 53 percent of the ballots to 47 percent and 6,597 votes for Teichman. Holmes won nine of the 12 contested counties. Teichman won Stafford County with 60 percent and Pratt County with 61 percent.
He said he appreciated his support.
“Obviously to win is very gratifying especially after putting so much work in door-to-door,” he said. “Going out into counties I had not represented before definitely helped me.”
Holmes built a 822-vote advantage in Barton County, where he invested time visiting Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood.
“We imagined that Barton County would be a good stronghold and that proved to be true,” he said. “The vote indicated that Barton County is a very conservative county.”
Holmes heard positive comments in small towns like Bazine, where he was welcomed by voters who had never met a Senate candidate before.
“I was a first-time candidate for some voters, but it was encouraging to hear they wanted someone with conservative values,” he said.
Holmes said voters did their research and chose the person that best matched their core beliefs on fiscal responsibility and certain social issues. He said several of the primary winners unseated incumbents who had earned more moderate voting records.
“I think some Republicans have taken notice that we have a lot of Republicans who are indistinguishable from Democrats,” he said. “I was pleased that people I talked to had done their research. In many cases, you had two candidates with track records you could look up.”
Holmes said his role as a House chairman for benefits and pensions and a KPERS study committee showed he could get cooperation from both conservatives and moderates.
“I believe the current House members who will serve in the Senate will see better communication,” he said. “I expect a spirit of cooperation.”
Teichman has served as chair of the committee for Financial Institutions and Insurance and vice chair for Natural Resources. She also served on committees for Education, Ways and Means, Pensions, Investments and Benefits; and Organizations, Calendar and Rules.