Wagle wins Kan. Senate president, Merrick speaker

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Johnson County Republican Ray Merrick is the new speaker of the Kansas House.

Merrick won on a second ballot Monday over fellow Johnson County representative Arlen Siegfried.

Republicans elected Susan Wagle of Wichita as Senate president. Wagle is the first woman to lead either legislative chamber. She defeated Steve Abrams of Arkansas City.

When the session begins in January, Republicans will outnumber Democrats 32-8 in the Senate and 92-33 in the House.

Party primaries in August saw the conservative wing of the Republican Party oust several moderates, including Senate President Steve Morris. In the House, Speaker Mike O'Neal retired after 28 years in the chamber, including two terms as speaker.

Democrats re-elected Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, as Senate minority leader and Paul Davis, of Lawrence, as House minority leader.

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