By Jim Misunas
Dodge City Community College teacher John Ewy won six of eight counties to beat former Kansas state treasurer Dennis McKinney of Greensburg in the 117th House District. Ewy earned 58 percent of the votes and won 5,454 to 3,873.
Ewy, a Hanston native, has taught speech and broadcasting at Dodge City Community College since 1976. He has resided in Jetmore since 1978. His familiarity in several of his counties proved pivotal. Ewy won his home Hodgeman County with 83 percent, 873 to 174.
“I knocked on a lot of doors and my heart is there and I am prepared to work hard,” Ewy said. “I had great help. I know a lot of people in Ford County. My family worked so hard for me.”
The Ewy family will celebrate the victory by welcoming John’s son, Todd Ewy, back from Kabul, Afghanistan Wednesday after he’s spent time in the Air Force.
The 117th House District occupies Kiowa, Pawnee, Edwards, Hodgeman, Ness, western Rush, eastern Ford and eastern Finney counties.
Perhaps no county was more important than Pawnee County, which Ewy won with 57 percent of the vote, 1,394 to 1,051.
“Pawnee County was critical,” Ewy said. “I had good help from people like Paula Carr and Dennis Wilson, good friends who poured their heart and soul into it. They treated me like family and I was thankful for that.”
McKinney said he needed to win Pawnee County. McKinney said he appreciated the help of the Pawnee County Democratic Central Committee — Steven Lewis, Deborah Lewis, Delores Wren and Billie Broils.
“Early in the evening, when we lost Pawnee County, I knew we were in trouble,” McKinney said. “But I had great help from the people in Larned. It wasn’t a lack of work that we lost. We must’ve scared them a little bit because they had a U.S. Congressman Tim Huelskamp helping out.”
Ewy also swept Ness County, 72 percent, 768 to 298; Ford County, 68 percent, 836 to 388; Rush County, 61 percent, 558 to 355; and Edwards County, 56 percent, 752 to 597.
McKinney won his home Kiowa County with a 634-vote advantage by getting 77 percent of the votes. He also won Finney County, 120 to 7.
McKinney said it’s gotten more difficult to win as a Democrat in Kansas.
“It’s much tougher than when I first ran,” he said. “It used to be people would tell you that they vote for the person, but you don’t hear that any more.”
McKinney said state-wide advertising has tried to paint Democrats with a broad brush. The advertising miscast him as a supporter of Obamacare.
“The opposing party has tried to turn national issues into state issues,” he said. “I am not a supporter of Obamacare.”
McKinney worked as the treasurer for the State of Kansas in 2009 and 2010. He served in the Kansas Legislature from 1992 to 2008. He served as House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2008. McKinney was a Kiowa County commissioner from 1989 to 1992.
Ewy said he has an opportunity to teach part-time in the spring or simply take a leave of absence at the college.
Ewy submitted his application to run right after House Districts were redrawn this spring. His campaign was coordinated by Larry Salmans after Larry Powell elected to run for Senate rather than his previous House position.
“When I saw the 117th District was redrawn, I mailed my form in at the last moment. This part of the state has a lot to offer,” Ewy said. “I am a big proponent of the community college system. I feel I can offer a lot.”
Ewy was born and grew up in Hodgeman County. Ewy and his wife, Marsha, are parents to five children. Ewy also serves as director of the Hodgeman County USD 227 recreation program which serves Jetmore and Hanston.
Ewy’s website highlights the following campaign themes:
Jobs and Opportunity — ”John Ewy believes that we should foster a climate of economic opportunity for our businesses and families to prosper.”
Spending Reform — ”Spending must be reformed to meet priorities efficiently and effectively, and we need to stop passing the bill to our kids and grandkids.”
Energy & Agriculture — “Farming, ranching, oil and gas are all pivotal to our special way of life in western Kansas, and are a large part of the economic engines of our state. Growing these industries is critical to the future of Kansas.”
Defending Our Families. Educating Our Children — ”Strong families, traditional values, and an education by involved parents and caring teachers are the keys to our children’s success – not government bureaucrats and mandates.”
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