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Kansas Chamber PAC makes endorsements in House races

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 12:02 p.m.

The political action committee of the Kansas Chamber stuck mostly with incumbents when it endorsed candidates for the state House in the Wichita area.

The chamber PAC chose to endorse Rep. Joe Edwards, R-Haysville, over challenger John Whitmer in what has been a contentious race so far in District 93 in south Sedgwick County.

Other Republican incumbents, such as Reps. Dennis Hedke, Les Osterman and Gene Suellentrop of Wichita, Rep. Marc Rhoades of Newton and Rep. Kasha Kelley of Arkansas City also landed endorsements over their primary challengers.

In its release, the chamber PAC said the “pro-growth majority” still can be strengthened in the House after numerous victories for the business community in the 2014 legislative session.

In District 88 in east Wichita, the PAC endorsed former state Rep. Joseph Scapa over the other Republican candidate, Jim Price. Both are running for the seat held by Rep. Patricia Sloop, D-Wichita. Scapa lost to Sloop in 2012.

It chose Jeremy Alessi, a financial adviser in Wichita, over fellow Republican Jason Paul Dean in the race to take on Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, in District 92 in central-west Wichita.

The PAC did not endorse a candidate in the Republican primary to replace Rep. Dave Crum of Augusta. The candidates are Augusta Mayor Kristey Williams and businessman Kenneth Bratton.

The Chamber successfully lobbied for an education bill that ties funding to policy reforms, which passed the House by a single vote, and for another bill that revamps the property appraisal and tax appeal process.

Another bill it strongly backed, a repeal of the state’s renewable energy standards, failed to pass the House on multiple attempts.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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