Election Day was Tuesday, and while some races were too close to call, by Wednesday morning voters and government officials were evaluating the impact of the results on the balance of power from the local to the federal level.
Despite nationwide results that were much closer, Crawford County saw a sizeable majority of voters cast their ballots in favor of reelecting President Donald Trump. Similarly, a majority of county voters supported Republicans Roger Marshall in the US Senate race over Democrat Barbara Bollier, State Treasurer Jake LaTurner over Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla in the US House of Representatives Kansas District 2 race, and voted in favor of Republicans in the state legislature races for Kansas’ 13th Senate District and its 2nd and 3rd House of Representatives districts. At the county level, however, some incumbent Democrats notably held onto their positions.
In one of the biggest political shakeups locally resulting from the election, Republican Chuck Smith ousted incumbent Democrat Monica Murnan for the Kansas House of Representatives 3rd District seat, representing Pittsburg and some of the surrounding areas in the southeast corner of Crawford County. Smith previously won the seat in 2014 but was defeated by Murnan in 2016 and 2018.
The race was close and as of Wednesday morning, Smith had only beat Murnan by a margin of 767 votes, according to unofficial results from the Crawford County Clerk’s Office.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve you again in Topeka,” Smith said a statement on Facebook. “I want to congratulate Monica on a strong race and thank her for serving our community in Topeka these last four years.”
Murnan conceded in a Facebook post on Tuesday night and thanked her supporters.
“Thank you to everyone that supported my campaign,” she said. “It has been an honor to serve you the past 4 years.”
Sen. Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena), whose Kansas Senate District 13 includes all of Crawford and Cherokee counties and parts of Bourbon and Labette, defeated Democrat Nancy Ingle by about two-to-one districtwide, though that margin was narrower in Crawford County.
In a Facebook post, Hilderbrand expressed his thanks to those that voted.
“Thank you to everyone for all of your prayers and support,” he said.
Ingle could not be reached for comment.
Rep. Ken Collins (R-Mulberry), whose district includes most of Crawford County outside of Pittsburg along with parts of Bourbon, Neosho and Allen counties, won his reelection campaign by a significant margin, with more than 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
“Looks like we did it,” Collins said in a Facebook post late Tuesday. “I would like to thank everyone for voting.”
Lynn Grant, a Frontenac City Council member who was running against Collins for the Kansas House 2nd District seat as a Democrat, also commented on the race.
“I’m just disappointed,” Grant said.
Longtime Crawford County 2nd District Commissioner Tom Moody, a Democrat, who won his reelection bid by less than 1,000 votes, thanked voters for their support over the years, including in this year’s campaign.
"I am humbled to be the voice for the Second District and am looking forward to the continued opportunity to work for the citizens of Crawford County,” Moody said in an emailed statement, adding that serving as a county commissioner is always a challenge, "but I have built relationships with community members and promise to be a leader, something Crawford County must have during these unprecedented times."
Moody’s Republican opponent Edward Fields also issued a statement Wednesday conceding the race.
“I would like to thank my fellow Crawford County citizens, friends, and my family for their support through this election,” Fields said in a Facebook post. “Although I may not have made commissioner, it appears from the increase in the recent road and bridge projects that my efforts may have sparked a fire. I hope that positive changes can be made for this county. Thank you again and for every today there is a tomorrow.”
Incumbent Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith, who was appointed to his position in 2019 and was running for election as a Democrat, released a statement Wednesday morning after narrowly beating his Republican opponent J.J. Karlinger by less than 1,500 votes.
“I want to thank anyone and everyone for their support during this entire campaign process,” Smith said in a Facebook post. “Be it words of encouragement, advice, mentoring, donations, sign requests, personal time, sign detail, parade detail, social media posts, and friendship. None of this could have been possible without you.”
Karlinger, meanwhile, also released a statement Wednesday on Facebook conceding the race to Smith.
“I want to thank all those who supported me during this and those who didn't,” Karlinger said. “Congratulations to Sheriff Smith. We ran our race, made an impact, and had a good time doing it. It may not have worked out in the end the way we had hoped but I still feel like the luckiest man in the world for having had the experience and opportunity to do what we did.”