Kansas 117th House Democratic candidate Dennis McKinney (41%) lost a close race to Republican opponent John Ewy (59%) on Tuesday. Reflecting on his campaign the former representative and state treasurer said he was proud of his 'positive' campaign.
"I stuck to my principals, I didn’t want to run a negative campaign and we didn’t,” said McKinney late Tuesday evening. “I think when they have to bring in a congressman to campaign for them, it means they're worried. I'm very happy with how the campaign was run. We've ran a positive campaign."
Over the past few days radio advertisements associated the Kiowa County farmer and former commissioner with Kathleen Sebelius and The Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as 'Obamacare.' Congressman Tim Huelskamp voiced the attack ads that were paid for by the Kansas Republican Party.
“They spent a lot of money trying to tie me to Kathleen Sebelius and Obamacare and it worked,” said McKinney. “It was misleading, but effective.”
The final advertising push made by Republican opponent John Ewy and his supporters pointed to a close race, which many in the district considered too close to call even up to election day.
Residents in the north areas of the district had been receiving negative mailings for weeks, likely a push by the Ewy campaign to appeal to voters in new parts of the district.
McKinney had been running his own campaign ads, to counteract his opponents ads saying that the "third parties who are putting lies in your mailbox, don't care."
McKinney also responded to the negative ads in a election day email to supporters .
"I am on the Board of Directors of Pratt Regional Medical Center,” he wrote. “At the state level, I am supported by the Kansas Hospital Association and the nursing homes in the Kansas Health Care Association."
McKinney carried Kiowa County with 890 votes (77%) to Ewy’s 266 votes (23%), but lost every other county. Rush and Ness County results were not complete at time of publication.
Speaking on the eve of the election McKinney was unsure of what future he would have in public office. “I’d like to serve, but I don’t know where or how.”
Unofficial Election Results
Reported by the Kansas Secretary of State at 10:37 p.m
890 Dennis McKinney
266 John Ewy
Page 2 of 2 - 752 John Ewy
597 Dennis McKinney
836 John Ewy
388 Dennis McKinney
1,394 John Ewy
1,051 Dennis McKinney
116 John Ewy
16 Dennis McKinney
198 John Ewy
116 Dennis McKinney
-- John Ewy
-- Dennis McKinney