Historically, the Kansas House Dist. 72 race is a tight race. Currently, less than 90 votes separate Steve Kelly (R-Newton) and Tim Hodge (D-North Newton) with 280 provisional ballots and unreturned mail ballots still to be counted.
In a race that was too close to call in Harvey County, Steve Kelly (R-Newton) finished election night with a slim lead over incumbent Tim Hodge (D-North Newton) in the Kansas House District 72 races.
"That was tough," Kelly said. "I hope we can come together. I ran to try and solve problems in Topeka, and I hope we can do that."
<iframe src="https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/KS/Harvey/92669/Web02.216033/public/#/widget/contestbox/0109" style="border:none" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="225" height="400">
The Dist. 72 has been a hard-fought seat for more than a decade, with two of the last seven ending in recounts.
A recount was needed to declare a winner in 2006 and 2008.
"It may be a tough seat, but it is a good one," Hodge said.
After hand counted ballots were counted in Harvey County, the election night totals in the county swung in Hodge's favor — sitting at 4,178 for Hodge and 4,145 for Kelly.
"Regardless of what happens, I am proud of the campaign," Hodge said. "... We left it all on the field."
When the election night totals for Harvey County were posted at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 6, Kelly held just a 15 vote edge — 4,087 to 4,072 — over Hodge. According to the Harvey County Clerk's office, there are about 280 provisional ballots in the race in Harvey County. Some mail ballots may have not yet been received, those must be postmarked no later than 7 p.m. Nov. 6 and received no later than Nov. 9 to be counted. Harvey County issued 3,800 mail ballots, 2,338 had been received by election day.
In Butler County, Kelly won decisively, 185 to 68 votes.
According to the Kansas Attorney General's office, Kelly holds a lead of 4,330 to 4,246 — a total of 86 votes. Kelly holds a 50.49 percent of the vote.
Hodge dominated advanced voting — early votes and mail votes counted Nov. 6 went 60 percent in his favor — 2,186 to 1,401. Signing up new mail voters was a major portion of his campaign effort.
"I am disappointed that we didn't get more votes in through the advance ballots, and election day results," Hodge said. "While I was walking, I heard a lot of 'my vote will never matter.' That is not true. People need to understand that if they want to make a change in the world, one of the only ways to do that is to vote for candidates who will change things."
The election will be canvassed, and results finalized Nov. 13 by the Harvey County Commission.
"This shows it was a well-run race," Kelly said. "I want to congratulate Tim on a well-run race. They had a good organization. ... This shows the Republican party is alive and well."