Sunday, April 20, 2014

Narrow GOP win over incumbent

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer | 11/7/2012

Area voters have chosen a Republican newcomer to represent them in the House.

Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, appears to have defeated 18-year incumbent Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett, in Tuesday’s general election to claim his place as state representative for Kansas House District 5, according to unofficial results released by the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.

Area voters have chosen a Republican newcomer to represent them in the House.

Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, appears to have defeated 18-year incumbent Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett, in Tuesday’s general election to claim his place as state representative for Kansas House District 5, according to unofficial results released by the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.

Jones maintained a slim lead over his competitor garnering 52 percent of the votes in the district, which includes eastern Franklin County, most of Anderson County and the western parts of Linn and Miami counties. On Jones’ home turf, Franklin County, he received 1,925 votes for a more than 63-percent win over Feuerborn.

A voting machine problem caused officials in Linn County to hand-count votes. However, with seven out of 14 precincts reporting, it appeared Jones’ winning ways continued in the county, where he gathered more than 61 percent of the votes to Feuerborn’s 39 percent. Despite the machine malfunction, Jones said he was cautiously upbeat about his chances.

“We’re optimistic. I worked hard in Linn County and have pretty good support down there,” Jones said Wednesday afternoon. “Besides that, I’m not going to say I’ve won yet, but we’re optimistic and I’m very thankful for all the support and look forward to serving.”

The political pair split the Miami County votes as the secretary of state’s office reported only a one- vote difference between the two candidates, with Feuerborn receiving 1,228 votes and Jones receiving 1,227. Feuerborn took the majority of the Anderson County votes at 58 percent, but that wasn’t enough to put him over the top. Jones reportedly won 52 percent of the district’s total votes, likely making him the next state representative for House District 5.

Feuerborn is less optimistic about his chance of winning the seat than Jones. There aren’t enough votes left, he said, to cover the spread between himself and his competitor. He is glad for the time he was able to serve the people of the Sunflower State, he said.

“I’ve had 18 years, and I take it as a privilege. Not too many people can say they’ve been a state representative for 18 years. I feel like I’ve worked at it hard,” Feuerborn said Wednesday afternoon. “Not the way that I wanted to end, but I feel good because I’ve had that privilege to serve the fifth district for 18 years.”

The veteran politician said Jones likely will face a learning curve when he gets to the state capitol.

Feuerborn also said being out of office might give him and his wife more time for traveling.

With two precincts still to be counted, Jones said Wednesday he was out gathering his campaign signs throughout the district.

“I look forward to serving the people of the fifth district and the people of Kansas,” Jones said.

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