Caryn Tyson, Parker, was proud of the race her team put together for the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional District.
Steve Watkins, Topeka, edged Tyson by a little more than 2,000 votes to secure the nomination after Tuesday’s election results went final. Watkins advances to the general election to face Democrat Paul Davis, Lawrence, who had no opposition in the primary.
“We ran an extremely professional race,” Tyson said. “We did what needed to be done. We could not have worked any harder. We had some great support.”
The primary field was split with seven candidates. Tyson said that was a factor in Watkins winning.
“There were so many conservative candidates in the race,” Tyson, who will continue to serve as a state senator, said. “They split the votes and weakened us from winning it.”
Watkins garnered 19,753 votes or 26 percent of the votes cast in the 25-county district. Tyson finished with 17,499 or 23 percent. Kevin Jones, Wellsville, had 12,033 votes. Others were Steve Fitzgerald, 9,098; Dennis Pyle, 8,997; Doug Mays, 6,135, and Vernon Fields, 1,950.
Watkins in the weeks leading up to the primary pumped thousands of dollars into television ads and mailers.
“We ran a positive campaign,” Tyson said. “We could have gone negative. I say ‘negative’ by twisting the truth. We would have never done that. What we could have done was pointed out weaknesses in our opponents. We chose not to do that. We ran a race to be proud of. We were outspent 3-to-1. We did this with hard work, grassroots and great people. We know $900,000 in TV attack ads [were aired] that were false ads. We were just outspent: the TV ads, the mailers and the lies of my voting record. Look how close we came. We knew all along we had a shot at winning this.”