State Treasurer Jake LaTurner won the 2nd Congressional District race Tuesday night and will head to Congress next year.
LaTurner, a Republican from Galena, defeated Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, a Democrat, receiving 180,147 votes, or 56%, to De La Isla’s 130,758 votes, or 40%, according to unofficial results posted by the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.
The 2nd District stretches from Leavenworth through Topeka all the way down to Pittsburg. LaTurner carried nearly all the counties in the district, with the notable exception of Shawnee County and neighboring Douglas County.
In Shawnee County, De La Isla carried with around half the vote.
Politico had rated this congressional race as leaning Republican, but some national political experts had predicted that De La Isla could pull off an upset if Republicans nationally had a bad night.
But that didn’t seem to happen.
"There are those who would have you believe the American Dream is dead," LaTurner said in his election night victory speech. "But it is alive."
LaTurner will now be one of the youngest ever to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives in recent memory.
The treasurer has taken up most of his party’s positions, from securing the border to implement work requirements for job benefits to supporting Second Amendment rights. He has been viewed as a rising star by national Republicans and been endorsed by prominent business groups.
In the primary election, he defeated incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins, whose troubled history could have put this race in a much tighter position had Watkins been nominated.
De La Isla had campaigned mostly on expanding affordable health care and combating COVID-19. She veered away from the more left-leaning positions within her party, such as Medicare For All and defunding the police, for which LaTurner repeatedly attacked her.
With a vacancy in the state treasurer position to open up, Gov. Laura Kelly will appoint someone to that office, most likely a fellow Democrat.
De La Isla took the results in stride.
"The fact that we have a race that is competitive is amazing," De La Isla said at a virtual election night event hosted by the Kansas Democratic Party. "We have run a race that is a model race, a clean race, a race that has not only made Kansans proud, but most importantly, has made my daughters proud."
In the other congressional races, Republican Tracey Mann defeated Kali Barnett in the 1st Congressional District. Republican Ron Estes won against Laura Lombard in the 4th District, which includes Wichita, while Democrat Sharice Davids defeated Amanda Adkins in the 3rd District, which covers the Kansas City area.