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Headlines for Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review all the unofficial 2018 Kansas Primary Election Results.

Did Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Win the GOP Nomination for Governor?  Maybe

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach appears to have won the GOP nomination for governor.  As the Lawrence Journal-World reports, the Republican primary was too close to call all night long, due to slow ballot counting in Johnson County.  Election officials halted the vote count early this (WED) morning but Kobach was leading incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes. It could still be a few days before all absentee votes are counted.  A new state law allows ballots postmarked as of Tuesday to be counted, so long as they arrive three days after Election Day.  Kobach received a late endorsement from President Donald Trump. Colyer received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and had the backing of Kansas political legend Bob Dole.  Kansas has no automatic recount and if a recount is requested it must be paid for by the candidate requesting it.  The race was a test of whether President Donald Trump's late endorsement can push his ally Kobach to victory. Kobach has advised the White House and served as vice chairman of a now-disbanded presidential commission on election fraud.  Colyer became governor in January, succeeding Sam Brownback. 

A Kansas official says long lines at some polling places delayed the reporting of election results in the state's most populous county.  State elections director Bryan Caskey said Tuesday night that some polling places in Johnson County remained open until about 8 p.m. to accommodate people who were in line to vote when polls officially closed at 7 pm.  He said that led local officials to delay reporting their first results, from votes cast in advance.  Johnson County has nearly 408,000 registered voters, or almost 23 percent of the state's total of 1.8 million.  The delay in reporting results came as Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer were locked in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor.  In the last count, Kobach led the race by fewer than 200 votes.  Whoever winds up with the GOP nomination will face State Senator Laura Kelly, of Topeka, in November. 


Kobach Launches Campaign on Behalf of GOP

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the GOP can't wait until the close party primary for governor is resolved next week to start campaigning against Democrats, so he will start immediately. Kobach was leading Governor Jeff Colyer in a race too close to call Wednesday morning. Kobach said it's possible that his current 191 vote advantage will disappear when outstanding votes are counted next week and that Colyer could end up being the nominee and "taking the baton" of the campaign. But he said it's imperative that the party not wait to start the general election campaign, because the Democrats won't wait. Colyer was not conceding the race. In a statement, he cited the close results and "extraordinary problems" in Johnson County, the state's most populous county.


Colyer Won't Start General Election Campaign

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer says he will wait until the results of the GOP primary race for governor are final before he begins a campaign for the general election. Colyer responded after Secretary of State Kris Kobach said earlier Wednesday that he would immediately begin campaigning against his Democratic opponent, Laura Kelly. Kobach led Colyer by fewer than 200 votes after Tuesday's election. The outcome will be determined by thousands of provisional and mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted. Colyer says he is hopeful and "very confident" the final vote will give him the GOP nomination. But he said he would be happy to work with Kobach should he win.


State Senator Laura Kelly Captures Democratic Nomination for Governor

State Senator Laura Kelly captured the Democratic nomination for governor by a wide margin Tuesday night.  Kelly is a veteran Kansas legislator who campaigned on her Statehouse experience and fended off questions about her voting record.  Kelly defeated former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty and two other candidates Tuesday.  The 68-year-old Kelly has served 14 years in the Senate and is the top Democrat on the budget committee. She stressed her credentials in running and suggested that she was best able to fix problems created by Republican policies.  She faced criticism from Svaty and Brewer for votes she made in representing a GOP-leaning district for looser gun laws and for some of the nation's toughest voter identification requirements.  But she also had the backing of former two-term Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius.


Political Newcomer Steve Watkins Wins GOP Nomination in 2nd Congressional District

Army veteran Steve Watkins has won the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas in his first run for political office.  Watkins, from Topeka, prevailed Tuesday in a field of seven candidates that included four state legislators and a former Kansas House speaker.  He will face Democrat Paul Davis in the November election. Davis is a Lawrence attorney and a former Kansas House minority leader who narrowly lost the 2014 governor's race to Republican incumbent Sam Brownback.  Watkins won after his physician-father formed a political action committee that spent at least $570,000 to help him. The younger Watkins also emphasized his outsider status and military service in Afghanistan.  The 2nd District seat is open because five-term Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins did not seek re-election.


Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids to face 3rd District GOP Congressman Kevin Yoder

Sharice Davids has become Kansas' first Native American and gay nominee for Congress.  The 38-year-old attorney and activist prevailed in a close six-candidate Democratic primary and will face four-term Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder.  Davids also is a former mixed martial arts fighter who introduced herself to fellow Democrats with a video showing her in the ring and landing solid kicks to a large punching bag.  She was raised by a single mother and earned a law degree from Cornell University. She was a White House fellow during Barack Obama's presidency.  Democrats are targeting Yoder this fall because Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won the district in the 2016 presidential race.


Kansas GOP 4th District Congressman Ron Estes to Face Democrat James Thompson... Again

James Thompson has won the Democratic nomination for a congressional seat in Kansas that he first sought last year in a special election after now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the Trump administration.  The Wichita Democrat advances to a November matchup with Republican Representative Ron Estes.  Thompson, a Wichita civil rights attorney, held Estes to a single-digit victory in the nation's first congressional special election last year after President Donald Trump took office. Thompson defeated Laura Lombard in the Democratic primary.  Democratic socialist rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Wichita during the race to join Senator Bernie Sanders at a campaign event for Thompson as Democrats look to flip a congressional seat once considered safely Republican.


Kansas GOP Congressman Roger Marshall to Face Democrat Alan LaPolice in Big 1st this Fall

Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall has won the Republican primary in the sprawling rural 1st District of western and central Kansas.  He advances for a November matchup against Democrat Alan LaPolice of Clyde in the heavily Republican agricultural district.  Marshall, a Great Bend physician, first gained national attention in 2016 for knocking off then Rep. Tim Huelskamp in the Republican primary for the seat.  Democrats did not have a candidate in 2016, but LaPolice launched a long-shot bid as an independent. LaPolice, an educator, is taking another shot at it this year running as a Democrat.  While the district strongly supported President Donald Trump in 2016, some worry tougher immigration policies make it harder to fill agricultural jobs. Marshall wants to couple border-security measures with changes in visas for guest farm workers.


Vickie Scmidt Wins GOP Nomination for Insurance Commissioner; Faces Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin in November

State Senator Vicki Schmidt has won the Republican primary for insurance commissioner in Kansas, advancing to face Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin in a November matchup to become the state's top insurance regulator.  Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer sought the Republican nomination for governor in Tuesday's primary, creating a wide open race for the state's top insurance regulator. Schmidt defeated Selzer's top deputy, Assistant Insurance Commissioner Clark Shultz, to capture the Republican nomination.  McLaughlin ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.  Schmidt, a pharmacist and the Senate's lead negotiator on health issues, chairs the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.  As a pharmacist, she says she deals with health insurance problems every day, and sees the effect of rising health care costs on families and seniors.


Scott Schwab Gets GOP Nomination for Kansas Secretary of State; Faces Democrat Brian McClendon in November

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State Representative Scott Schwab, best known as the father of a boy who died in a Kansas City water park accident, has won the Republican primary for secretary of state.  Schwab prevailed in a five-person race Tuesday for the GOP nomination. He is the Kansas House speaker pro tem and has served 14 years in the Legislature.  His 10-year-old son, Caleb, was killed in August 2016 while riding on what was billed as the world's tallest waterslide at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas.  Schwab is from Olathe and will face Democrat Brian McClendon, a former Uber and Google executive from Lawrence.  The GOP hasn't lost a secretary of state's race since 1948.

Review all the unofficial 2018 Kansas Primary Election Results.


3 Life Terms for Shooter in Kansas Hate Crime

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences on federal hate crime charges for killing an Indian immigrant and wounding two other men in a Kansas bar.  The Johnson County District Court had already sentenced Adam Purinton to life in prison for first-degree murder in the February 2017 shooting of 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla at a bar in Olathe. Kuchibhotla had stopped there for a drink with a co-worker who was wounded in the attack. A third man who intervened also was shot.  Purinton reportedly yelled "Get out of my country" at them.  He pleaded guilty in May to federal hate crime and firearm charges to avoid the death penalty. He admitted he shot Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani because of their race and color.  On Tuesday, the federal court handed Purinton a further three consecutive life sentences.


Kansas to Cover High School Juniors' ACT Exam Fees

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas education officials say all high school juniors in the state will be able to take ACT exams and assessments for free next school year. The Wichita Eagle reports that the ACT exam gauges a student's readiness for success in college. The ACT WorkKeys assessments measure essential workplace skills. The exams will be administered statewide in February. Kansas Department of Education spokeswoman Denise Kahler says the free tests are being financed through additional funding from the state Legislature as part of its new school finance plan. Students pay $50 for the ACT exam and an additional $16.50 for an optional writing assessment. State officials say they'll recommend, but not require, that all juniors take both tests. Kansas students' ACT scores last year fell to their lowest point in five years.


Man Killed in Disturbance in Suburban Kansas City

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a 57-year-old man in suburban Kansas City as a homicide.  The Kansas City Star reports that the man was severely injured early Wednesday during a disturbance in a residential area in Shawnee. Emergency responders rushed him to a hospital, where he later died.  Police say no one is in custody. They didn't release the victim's name or suspect information.


Woman Whose Car Went into Kansas River to Get Mental Check

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman charged with intentionally driving into the Kansas River, killing one of her children and injuring another, will undergo a mental evaluation.  An attorney for 26-year-old Scharron Dingledine, of Columbia, Missouri, said during a brief court hearing Tuesday that she wants an evaluation of Dingledine's competency.  Dingledine is charged with first-degree murder after her car went into the river near Lawrence on Friday. She and her 1-year-old son survived but the body of her 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah Bradley, was pulled from the river on Saturday. Dingledine is also charged with attempted first-degree murder for injuring her son, who remains in intensive care.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Dingledine's next hearing was scheduled for August 28 to allow time for an evaluation.  Dingledine is being held on $1 million bond.


Ex-Wichita Officer Admits He Knew About Illegal Gambling

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police officer has admitted that when he was an officer he knew people were conducting an illegal gambling business and didn't report them. Federal prosecutors say 46-year-old Bruce Mackey, of Goddard, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of misprision of a felony. During an illegal poker game in February 2014, Mackey told the game's organizers that one of the gamblers was a Wichita police officer working undercover. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26. Mackey faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.


Lawrence Man Who Molested Young Girl Sentenced

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence man who molested a girl beginning when she was 7 was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The Lawrence Journal-World reports 68-year-old Clinton Laing was sentenced Tuesday for aggravated indecent liberties with a child for crimes that occurred in 2015 and 2016. Before a plea deal, he faced four charges, including rape. Prosecutor Alice Walker read letters from the victim and her mother, who both said they wanted Laing to serve a long sentence to pay for the pain he caused. Laing's attorney, Joshua Seiden, said his client was remorseful. Laing registered as a sex offender after his guilty plea. If he gets out of prison, he will have to be on parole with electronic monitoring the rest of his life.


Authorities Identify Denver Man Who Died in Kansas Lake

DENVER (AP) — Authorities have identified the 42-year-old Denver man who died in Perry Lake in northeast Kansas.  The Denver Post reports the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Kansas says Jason Michael Southard was not breathing when family members pulled him out of the water Sunday afternoon and attempted to resuscitate him.  Authorities say Southard had called for help while swimming in the Party Cove area.  Medical personnel attempted advance life support measures but Southard did not regain consciousness. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the sheriff's office are investigating Southard's death.  The Jefferson County Coroner's Office has not yet determined the cause of death.


Wichita Man Pleads Guilty to Buying 2 Tiger Pelts

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man pleaded guilty to violating federal law by buying two tiger pelts.  Federal prosecutors said 38-year-old Ret Thach pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate sale or purchase of animals covered by the Endangered Species Act.  In his plea, Thach admitted he paid $8,000 for the two tiger pelts, and paid traveling expenses for a seller from Wisconsin to deliver the pelts to Wichita. Thach did not know that the seller was an undercover agent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  According to court records, Thach wanted the pelts for his home office. He told the agent he already owned a lion and a lot of bears and wanted to add the tiger pelts.  Sentencing is set for October 26.


Muslim Group Plans to Sue U.S. over Terror Watch List System

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Muslim civil rights organization says it's filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal government's terror watch list system.  Gadeir Abbas, a senior attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the group plans to file the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, on behalf of more than 10 Muslim travelers who allege they faced harassment at airports and suffered other consequences because of being placed on a terror watch list. None of the plaintiffs have been charged with or convicted of a terrorism-related crime.  Abbas says defendants will include the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and other government agencies.  The suit will claim the travelers' due process rights were violated.  The agencies Abbas named did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.


It's 2 Miracles: 2 Cats Found Weeks After House Explosion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman who already was celebrating the return of one cat that disappeared three weeks ago after an explosion at her home says she's received a second "miracle." The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Ashley Nadeau posted to her Facebook page Tuesday that her cat, Kunimitsu, was found in a pipe at the site of her destroyed home in Topeka. On Wednesday, she posted that she and a friend dug a second cat, Mr. Tibbs, out of a pile of rubble near the home. The cats disappeared after a July 19 explosion that destroyed Nadeau's home and damaged two other houses. Fire officials said the explosion was tied to a storm that downed a utility line. Nadeau and her daughter left the house shortly before the explosion.


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