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Republican precinct committee members pick Wichita jeweler to represent 98th District

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, at 9:28 p.m.

Republican precinct committee members Tuesday evening selected local jeweler Steven Anthimides to the open seat representing the 98th District in the state House of Representatives.

Anthimides replaces Phil Hermanson, who resigned his seat and moved out of the Haysville-South Wichita area district after getting married in September.

Anthimides works in his family’s business in downtown Wichita, Athena Jewelry. Like Hermanson, he said he identifies with the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

On Tuesday evening, he described his political leanings as “very, very pro-gun and 2nd Amendment” and “extremely pro-business.”

However, he said he needs to study the issues facing the Legislature before making any firm policy proposals.

Eleven of the eligible 13 precinct committee men and women in the district participated in the selection vote, said Susan Estes, who served as a teller for the meeting at the First Baptist Church in Haysville.

Bruce Gass, the precinct committeeman who nominated Anthimides, said he hadn’t met him before interviewing him for the appointment.

“After questioning Steve, we are very impressed and convinced Steve is genuinely conservative and will serve our core principles well,” Gass said.

“I will confess to you I was expecting a Greek god before I met him,” Gass said, prompting Anthimides to reply, “I left my lightning bolt at home.”

Anthimides will serve in the upcoming legislative session that starts in January and fill the one year remaining in Hermanson’s term.

Anthimides said he will run in next year’s election and promised the assembled party leaders he will work hard to hold the seat.

The 98th is considered to be one of the few swing districts in the Wichita area that could go either Republican or Democrat in a general election. Last year, Hermanson won in a close race against then-Rep. Geraldine Flaharty, a Democrat.

The two incumbents wound up facing each other when the Legislature was unable to agree on redistricting and a federal court redrew the legislative boundary lines across the state. Flaharty has said she will not run again.

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or dlefler@wichitaeagle.com.

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