“This district and this representative are not for sale,” Finch said, referencing the barrage out of political mailers and outside spending by special interest groups in the heated primary race. “To the people of this district, I’m sorry for the plague that has been visited on you and your mailboxes.”
Incumbent Finch, Ottawa, defeated conservative challenger Bob Fluke, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Central Committee and a former Ottawa teacher, with 64 percent of the vote Tuesday, winning the Republican nomination for Kansas House District 59. Finch next will face Democrat Scott Barnhart, Ottawa, in the November general election. Barnhart was unopposed Tuesday.
With the Franklin County votes nearly tallied Tuesday night and watch party crowds still waiting to hear from Osage County, which also is included in the district, Fluke trailed Finch with only 35 percent of the vote. Fluke said he wished he could have earned more support, but understood it was an uphill battle from the beginning.
“We said from the get-go, it’s going to be a tough race,” Fluke said about 9 p.m. Tuesday. “We knew we were David and Goliath here, money-wise and incumbent and everything else. We did what we could. We’re OK.”
The contentious race to collect the Republican bid saw many political mailers attacking both candidates that ranged from misleading to completely false. The election was a great example of the district’s residents having the ability to see through those “nasty” political ads, Finch said.
“It’s absolutely a win for the people of the district, and I thank the people of the district for seeing through the smear campaign the Kansas Chamber and Americans For Prosperity launched against me,” Finch said. “They tried to buy this election. They tried to tell a bunch of people things that aren’t true and it’s fantastic that the people of this district saw through it and said no to that. They said they want a representative that can stand on his own and do what is right for the folks here.”
Fluke conceded defeat to Finch Wednesday in a statement.
“When we started this campaign adventure we prayed, ‘Win or lose, God keep us humble and make sure this will be for Your kingdom and Your glory.’ We believe that this prayer has been answered. Jesus told his disciples, ‘Go and make fishers of men.’ I will end this particular awesome eye-opening and great experience with a saying we have heard: ‘Sometimes the only ones that go with the flow are dead fish.’ God bless.”