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Filings re-shuffle the races

Democrat joins 67th contest as deadline passes

By Bill Felber

One Democrat filed for the 67th District House seat and a third filed for the 51st District seat in advance of Monday’s noon deadline to set legislative contests.

As the Kansas Secretary of State’s office fought to keep pace with a raft of filings statewide, this appeared to be the ballot lineup for area races.

*22nd Senate District: Republican incumbent Sen. Roger Reitz faced a primary challenge from Joe Knopp and also from Bob Reader. Meanwhile, former 67th District Rep. Tom Hawk was unopposed as the Democratic nominee in November.

*66th Legislative District. Incumbent Democrat Sydney Carlin was unopposed for renomination to face Republican Lee Modesitt, who was forced to relocate his residence after the new maps drew him out of the district.

*67th House District: Incumbent Republican Tom Phillips picked up a Democratic challenger for the general election.  Aaron Estabrook , a graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in political science and a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, filed for the office.

*64th House District: Republican incumbent Vern Swanson of Clay Center was unopposed in a district expanded by judges to take in the northern portion of Riley County as well as Ogden and areas just southwest of the city.

*51st District: Democrats faced a three-way primary for the newly created seat, which includes St. George, Wamego, rural Manhattan and Zeandale. Ron Highland, of Wamego, filed Monday, joining fellow Wamegoan Richard Pikul and Scott Briggs, of Reading, in the race. Dee McKee, a Republican who had filed for the 6th District Board of Educations eat, withdrew that filing and instead filed for the 51st District seat Monday.

*6th District State Board of Education: Manhattan school teacher Usha Reddi said she would file, although her name had not been added to the candidate list at deadline. Democrat Carol Viar of Salina was on the ballot in the race to succeed Republican Kathy Martin, of Clay Center, who appeared not to have filed for re-election. Also in the race is Deena Horst, of Salina.

The most noteworthy filing was Estabrooks’s because it filled an obvious gap in the Democrats’ slate. Formerly assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Wash., Estabrook said in announcing his candidacy that he had been a gunner in a tank platoon in Afghanistan in 2009.

“Nothing is more important to me than protecting our veterans,” Estabrook said. He is currently working at The Salvation Army as a case manager for homeless veterans across northern Kansas.

“It’s an extremely rewarding experience to provide assistance to Kansas veterans, but unfortunately there are a significant number of homeless veterans in this area,” Estabrook said.

He said he was moved to file after watching the Legislature struggle through political turmoil in 2012. “Protecting Education, fiscal responsibility, and actually legislating instead of pandering and posturing are the main factors that influenced my decision to run,” he said. He termed the court’s redistricting decision “just the latest example of moderate and conservative Republicans not being able to legislate anything. Legislatures must be able to compromise and legislate, when they choose to not compromise and then pass the problem on to someone else they must not get re-elected”.

A native of Dodge City, Estabrook said he has lived in Manhattan since entering K-State in 2003. While attending KSU he also served as an assistant baseball coach at Manhattan High School. He resides in western Manhattan.

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