The District encompasses Barton County and 10 other counties: Stafford, Pratt, Rush, Kiowa, Edwards, Pawnee, Hodgeman, Ness, Lane and Scott. All unofficial results provided by the Kansas Secretary of State. (Not all precincts reporting by press time.)
Rush (5 of 17 precincts reporting) 327
Ness (1 of 12) 105
Hodgeman (5 of 11) 327
Rush (5 of 17 precincts reporting) 77
Ness (1 of 12) 16
Hodgeman (5 of 11) 77
Tuesday, District 33 elected Republican Mary Jo Taylor of Stafford to represent them for the next four years. She had a decisive win over Democrat Matt Bristow of Ellinwood after a race that would be defined by the decidedly respectful tone taken by both candidates took towards one another.
“I’m very pleased with the results,” Taylor said from an election night gathering. “We’ve worked hard for the past eight months, knowing from the very beginning that with 12 counties represented in the district, there would be a lot of traveling involved. We had a lot of help from supporters in each county that made introduction for us and helped us spread our message.”
Taylor’s campaign made repeated visits to each county, she said, concentrating on those that weren’t carried by by the incumbent in 2012. Following the election, she anticipates a short break before heading to Topeka in the beginning of next month for orientation.
Taylor has served as the superintendent of USD 349 since 2001, and has helped the district navigate the rough financial waters of the past six years since Governor Sam Brownback’s tax policies were implemented eliminating income tax for corporations and LLCs, reducing the money available to adequately fund education in the state.
“The experiment simply hasn’t worked the way it was proposed,” she said in a recent interview with the Tribune.
As superintendent, she worked closely with the district’s budget, and hopes to put those skills she has honed over the past 15 years to work helping to get the state’s budget headed in a healthier direction. This, she has said, will be possible if the voters elect a veto-proof legislature now.
Bristow was reached Tuesday night, stating that while he went into the race knowing the odds were against him from the start as a Democratic candidate in a traditionally Republican district, he was surprised by the results coming in.
“A lot of the things I did during the campaign were worth their weight in gold,” he said. “This simply wasn’t the right moment for change. The problem is, if this wasn’t the year, I don’t know what would be.”
The The 32-year old criminal defense lawyer who ran on a platform of opposition to the policies of Brownback, like most voters, was home Tuesday night watching election returns from the national election.
“Mary Jo approached me early on, and we agreed to run a clean campaign,” he said. “The nation’s stage could take a cue from this campaign. I hope she will represent the 33rd as she said she would and stand up to Brownback because that is what she promised she would do.”