Great Bend’s John Edmonds will again be Representative of the state’s 112th district, after pulling in 71 percent of the votes Tuesday night in Barton County. Unofficial final totals from the Barton County Clerk’s Office showed the Republican with 6,528 votes. Democratic challenger Steve Muehleisen received 2,505 votes, or 27 percent. There were also 132 write-in votes. At the end of October, Great Bend Republican Frank McKinney announced he was running as a write-in candidate.
After advance ballots were counted and showed Edmonds with a 2-1 lead, Edmonds said he was encouraged. “If those numbers hold, I’ll be very happy.”
Edmonds served as Representative for 12 years and then “retired” in 2007. Earlier in the campaign, he joked that if elected he’d be going to Topeka as an experienced rookie.
“It’s something that needs doing,” he said of his return to public service at the state level. “I’ve done it before and done it well. It’s kind of ‘bloom where you’re planted.’”
As a Certified Public Accountant, Edmonds said he’s especially interested in the state’s tax policy.
“The budget needs close attention,” he said. “I’m very concerned about what we’re going to do with Medicaid and Obamacare. There are more questions than answers.”
Muehleisen said he is also concerned about the new Kansas income tax structure. “Everyone was really concerned about business, but no one showed concern for the little guy,” he said. He predicts the flatter tax will lead to increased fees, increased property tax, increased sales tax and cuts in services. “They’re going to have to do something, because the numbers don’t add up.”
Both Muehleisen and McKinney called Edmonds’ victory on Tuesday a victory for Big Money, noting the number of political action committees and variety of donors who supported him. “I don’t believe when you run for office you should take one cent from outside of your district,” McKinney said. “Edmonds owes his soul to eastern Kansas interest groups.”