TiahrtTodd Tiahrt cast his election-day ballot about 2 p.m. today, likely his last vote as the congressman representing Kansas’ 4th district and the first time in 20 years he hasn’t been on the ballot himself.
Tiahrt, a Republican, was all smiles as he waited in the 20-minute line with constituents at the polling place at the Church of the Holy Spirit in his hometown of Goddard.
“I think I’m the most relaxed I’ve been in 20 years on Election Day,” Tiahrt said. He added that he was expecting it to be a big day for his party.
Tiahrt’s first run for office was a narrow defeat for state House in 1990, which he followed up by winning a state Senate seat in 1992.
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Tiahrt has served for 16 years in Congress, elected in the 1994 Republican surge that gave the GOP control of the House for the next 12 years.
This year is expected to return Republicans to the majority in the House.
But Tiahrt passed on what would have been an almost-certain re-election to seek the Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback, who decided to leave Washington to run for governor. Tiahrt lost in the primary to his House colleague, Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays.
As soon-to-be ordinary citizen Tiahrt, he said he voted a straight ticket for the Republicans, although in Kansas, unlike some other states, a voter has to vote in each individual race to get that done.
“Which is fine, Tiahrt said. “I like looking at their names.”
Tiahrt will still have to return to Washington for a “lame-duck” session before the new members take office in January.