The race for Kansas House District No. 3 was hard-fought between Pittsburg Republican newcomer Michelle Hucke and veteran Pittsburg Democrat Julie Menghini, but Menghini prevailed over Hucke by a vote count — not including provisional ballots — of 4,208 to 3,650, or 54 to 46 percent.
Menghini, who spent three terms in the house before being beaten by Republican Terry Calloway in 2010, said she is glad to have another opportunity to serve Crawford County residents.
“I’m gratified, and I’m very pleased that the constituency felt that I was the best choice,” Menghini said. “We worked really hard and had a groundswell of support from volunteers who helped me reach this goal. It’s not my victory, it’s our victory. I’m so glad that we will have a true advocate for this area back in the Statehouse.”
Hucke said she fought a hard campaign and appreciates the help she received from her local supporters.
“We had such tremendous grass roots support in this community,” Hucke said. “It just means the world to me and shows the movement we have here in Pittsburg. I’m just so thrilled at the effort that was made and the things we were able to accomplish at this level without support from giant PACs. We’ll continue to work for the people of Pittsburg. We’ll just have to find another route to do it.”
Menghini said she thinks the level of negative campaigning — especially in the race between Pittsburg Republican challenger Jake LaTurner and incumbent Fort Scott Republican Bob Marshall for Kansas Senate District No. 13 — had a significant impact on her race with Hucke.
“I think voters seeing Marshall lose the way he did probably helped me to a certain extent,” Menghini said of the negative campaign ads. “I think they saw that they’re beating up on me and anyone who’s for rational thought. They beat up on a lot of really great moderate Republican senators.”
Hucke said she would continue to stay involved in area politics and would wait to determine whether she would run for office again.
“We’ll play it by ear. I’m more motivated now than ever to stay involved,” Hucke said. “I will continue to work with people to create better government.”
Hucke said she wishes Menghini well during her new term.
“I wish her the best, and we’ll definitely be praying for her and all the decisions she’ll be making in Topeka,” Hucke said. “I hope to God she makes the right decisions and we’ll be right there with her.”