U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall is headed back to Congress, winning re-election to Big 1st House seat, but this time he'll be governing from the minority party.
With a majority of votes in, Marshall, R-Great Bend, had 68 percent of the statewide vote on Tuesday night over Democratic challenger Alan LaPolice.
In 2016, Marshall won by 65.8 percent to capture the seat from Tim Huelskamp.
Meanwhile, in the race for the 4th Congressional District representing South Central Kansas, Rep. Ron Estes easily defeated Democratic challenger James Thompson, who actually lost ground in his second effort to go to Congress.
Rather than dwell on his win, however, Marshall expressed remorse for the loss by 3rd District Congressman Rep. Kevin Yoder, unseated by Democratic challenger Sharice Davids, and the potential loss by Rep. Steve Watkins, who was in a tight race with Paul Davis.
Democrats, meanwhile, were projected to take a majority in the House.
“I can’t believe Kevin got beat, and Steve Watkins is in a dogfight,” Marshall said. “I’ve been working so hard with Kevin. He’s a great friend, a great voice for Kansas. I can’t imagine Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, or Maxine Waters as Chairman of Financial Services. I’m in shock, just in shock.”
With the Senate gaining a wider Republican majority, however, Marshall expressed some hope that of the party's goals can still be accomplished.
“If we can pass something on the house side, there’s a good chance of it passing in the Senate,” he said. “From day one I’ve worked hard across the aisle. I just got back from a trip to Minnesota and North Dakota with the minority leader on the House Agricultural Committee. We’ve had a great friendship from day one. We went hunting and looked at some sugar beets. We’ll do some hunting here, and we’ll figure things out.”
On his race, Marshall noted it was a better result than two years ago. He attributed that to the town halls he’s conducted across his district since taking office.
“I think it’s a good report card from the people of Kansas,” Marshall said. “I think ag has spoken; oil and gas has spoken; the military has spoken. We’re working hard to get this Kansas economy up and going.”
Marshall also expressed gratitude for the support of voters in Reno County, where he won handily.
“I couldn’t have won this seat two years go without Reno County’s support,” he said. “There are tough times in Reno County now. It’s having its challenges. But the folks there know I have their back. I’m working hard to bring jobs back to Reno County and hope they have some of the success as the rest of the country.”
“We’ll wake up tomorrow, lick our wounds and get back to work and start again,” Marshall said.
LaPolice expressed frustration with the results and, though there were some changes in Kansas, he said he didn’t expect significant changes in Washington.
“I think that votes too often are just for party, even when that party is at odds with their interests,” the Clyde Democrat said. “It’s really frustrating. The other guy never even campaigned. I ran against a ghost.”
“I think partisanship needs to change,” LaPolice said. “If we wake up tomorrow and the Democrats have taken the House for a bit, if they can’t get along, it makes no difference. If was can’t get a government that is responsive to all its people, it makes no difference. Even when Republicans vote to kill farm bills and sabotage healthcare and mortgage their grandchildren’s solvency through debt.”
“I should be conciliatory,” LaPolice said. “But this guy votes against these people every single time. It’s amazing to me people can’t see beyond the R. There is no R.”
LaPolice, who had moved to Manhattan for his wife’s job but retained a home in Clyde, said he plans “to raise my daughters,” rather than seek another office.
“I’m going to teach them to be critical thinkers,” he said. “I’m going to teach them to fight for what they believe in.”
As of 10:20 p.m., with 79 percent of the votes counted, Marshall has nearly 122,000 votes to 57,509 for LaPolice.
With 83 percent of the votes counted for the Fourth District, Estes was leading with 115,519 votes or at 58 percent, compared to 83,049 for Thompson.