KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After emerging from a three-way primary fight, Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner is headed to Congress.
LaTurner, 32, ousted incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins during the Republican primary in August.
He then cruised to victory Tuesday in the general election against Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, winning the Kansas 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
LaTurner, who originally filed to run for Pat Roberts’ vacant Senate seat before suspending that campaign to challenge Watkins, had received 54% of the vote with 701 of 950 precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race shortly after 10 p.m.
"Democrats are targeting this seat,” LaTurner said in May when he announced his U.S. House candidacy. “We cannot give them any ground in Kansas.”
De La Isla, 44, was born in New York and grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to Kansas to attend Wichita State. She will remain as Topeka mayor.
Three months ago, LaTurner emerged from a crowded primary field that included Watkins and former Kansas Secretary of Labor Dennis Taylor amid GOP fears that the seat was vulnerable.
Republican leadership feared that Watkins, who was charged with election fraud in July, would lose a general election for a seat that’s only flipped to Democratic control twice since the late 1970s.
LaTurner was appointed as state treasurer in April 2017 at age 29 by former Gov. Sam Brownback. He won his first election for the office in 2018.
The Kansas 2nd District includes most of eastern Kansas outside Johnson and Wyandotte counties, including Leavenworth County and part of Miami County.
Douglas County, which includes Lawrence, and Shawnee County, which includes Topeka, also are included in the congressional district.
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