Elections

Pompeo, Kansas’ other U.S. House incumbents all win re-election

4th District Congressman Mike Pompeo speaks at the Sedgwick County Republican Party election watch party Tuesday night. (Nov. 4, 2014)
4th District Congressman Mike Pompeo speaks at the Sedgwick County Republican Party election watch party Tuesday night. (Nov. 4, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, easily won re-election in the U.S. House 1st District, saying that he was reassured that Kansans were looking for conservative solutions and that if Republicans carried the Senate, “we can finally force the president to see we have to negotiate.”

Huelskamp was leading Democrat James Sherow 67 percent to 33 percent with about 85 percent of precincts in the district reporting. The district covers all of western and much of northern Kansas.

In the 4th District, Republican Mike Pompeo won in similar fashion over Democrat Perry Schuckman. He had 66 percent of the vote with about 85 percent of precincts reproting in unofficial results.

Huelskamp said that if Republicans win the Senate, there will be “no more excuses,” and Republicans will have deliver, not shying away from their principles on health care, immigration and overregulation.

Despite contentions from Sherow that he was divisive, Huelskamp said that he was not surprised at the numbers of votes in his district.

“We’ve spent four years articulating and standing up for conservative principles. ... They’ve appreciated the battles,” he said of his constituents.

“I’m very honored to have another term in Congress,” he said from Hutchinson.

Sherow, a professor of history at Kansas State University and former mayor of Manhattan, said Tuesday night that he was having trouble getting his mind around the idea that people said they were tired of divisiveness yet voted in such numbers for Huelskamp.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” he said.

“I was hoping it would be a little closer than it is, but still we’ve garnered more Democratic support in the Big First since it was formed.”

Sherow challenged Huelskamp because he believed Huelskamp was divisive and ineffective after being removed from the House agriculture and budget committees by Republican leaders in 2012.

Huelskamp has said he was knocked off the committees for sticking to his conservative principles and not always voting the way House leaders wanted him to vote.

During the campaign, he defended his record, saying that he has succeeded in 30 legislative initiatives he has undertaken during his 3 1/2 years in office.

He also said he is fighting the Obama administration on environmental and other regulations that could cripple agriculture. Still, he lost the endorsements of the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Farm Bureau this year.

Huelskamp won a narrow victory in the August primary against Republican challenger Alan LaPolice, a farmer and educator.

Sherow was endorsed by Kansas Republicans for Common Sense. During the campaign he said that if elected he would join a group of about 80 members of Congress from both political parties called “No Labels,” which caucuses regularly to look for common ground on issues.

Huelskamp, a member of the House Veterans Affairs committee, has said his biggest accomplishment was the passage of a VA reform bill, and he cited that as an example of working in a bipartisan way.

In the 4th District, which includes Sedgwick and Butler counties, Pompeo faced a quiet challenge from Schuckman, the former executive director of Wichita’s Nonprofit Chamber of Service. The race sharply contrasted to Pompeo’s heated primary battle with former Congressman Todd Tiahrt.

“We know that these elections ... always end up being choices about the direction of the country,” Pompeo told supporters Tuesday night at the Wichita Marriott.

“I am convinced that Kansans understand what is best for each of us. ...

“We live in the single greatest nation in the history of civilization, and Kansas is going to continue to be part of making it so.”

Pompeo and Schuckman represented opposing philosophies as they campaigned in the 4th District, which covers most of south-central Kansas. Schuckman campaigned for social and economic justice and viewed Pompeo as out of touch with the middle- and struggling classes. Pompeo saw Schuckman as a classic liberal who wanted the federal government to create more programs, spend more money and redistribute the nation’s wealth.

Pompeo has said that he will continue his efforts to cut federal spending and pass legislation that streamlines government regulations so as to encourage job growth.

He has said he will resume work on his bill to speed federal approval for natural gas pipelines. That bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate. He also has said he will continue to push his bill to ban states from labeling genetically modified foods, which will have a hearing in Congress on Dec. 10.

He also plans to try again to push a bill he introduced two years ago that would eliminate tax credits for renewable and traditional energy sources.

Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said he would continue to serve on the committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

In the 2nd District, covering the Topeka area and Lawrence, Lynn Jenkins, a three-term GOP incumbent, overcame a challenge from Democrat Margie Wakefield, a family law attorney in Lawrence who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. Jenkins had 57 percent to Wakefield’s 39 percent, and Libertarian Christopher Clemmons had 4 percent, with 85 percent of the precincts tallied.

In the 3rd District, covering Wyandotte and Johnson counties and the northern part of Miami County, GOP incumbent Kevin Yoder easily fended off Kelly Kultala, who served four years in the Kansas Senate, earning 60 percent of the vote to Kultala’s 40 percent, also with 85 percent of the vote counted.

Yoder serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

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