Incumbent Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, appears to have narrowly secured his re-election to the Kansas Senate District 22 seat Tuesday night by 332 votes.

He received 14,573 votes, or 51%, compared to the 14,241 his Republican opponent Craig Bowser won, according to unofficial results from the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.

District 22 covers all of Clay and Riley counties, and a northern portion of Geary County.

Hawk leads with a greater margin within Riley County, garnering 55%, or 12,948, of the votes. Bowser took the leads in Clay County with 71%, or 2,857, of the votes, and Geary County with 70%, or 998.

Theoretically, Bowser still has a chance. Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo said Wednesday that his office alone had 1,470 provisional ballots that workers haven’t yet counted.

Hawk said Wednesday that running for office, especially with a tight race, is always a humbling experience, and he appreciates the support he received and would continue representing his district.

“It’s important to remember we do have a divided country and people treat politics like sports,” he said. “They get on a team, and they’re very loyal to their team. I’ve always been kind of an ‘un-team’ guy. I’m loyal to my team, but I think you only join that team to get elected, and I think after the election, it should be the all-star game, and we all got to be on the same team.

“I will continue to function that way, and I think our job is to do good policy for everybody, regardless of whether they’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, unaffiliated, whatever.”

Hawk said while supporting public and higher education has been one of his largest missions, his role in public service has helped him become knowledgeable in other areas that contribute to a functioning society, such as utilities, highways, infrastructure and more.

“My plan is to still be on Ways and Means and to keep working on balancing the budget,” Hawk said. “I’m on that SPARK committee, which is trying to fill our budget holes as best we can and keep the state safe and keep our businesses, our infrastructure, our schools, agencies, et cetera, going, I’m still going to keep working on that, we’re not done with that yet.”

Hawk has served in the seat since 2013. He is the ranking minority member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee and Senate Democratic Caucus leader. Before his career in the Senate, Hawk served three terms in the Kansas House in the 67th District from 2005 to 2010.

Hawk worked in the Manhattan-Ogden school district for 33 years, first as a teacher and counselor, then as a curriculum director, assistant superintendent for personnel and finance and superintendent for the 2000-01 school year.

Bowser said in an email Thursday that he is "cautiously optimistic" that he could still pull ahead.

"There are still votes being counted and we want to make sure everyone's voice is heard," he said. "Because the election is close, we won't know the final outcome until after canvassing has been done on the 16th."

Bowser said he and wife would like to thank everyone who has supported their campaign as they've had the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends along the way.

He is the chief executive officer of SAVE Farm, a Manhattan organization that assists members of the military transition into the agribusiness field.

This was Bowser’s first move into politics, and he criticized the efficacy of career politicians while promising to support businesses, veterans and farmers if elected.

Bowser served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 24 years, and worked as a civil affairs officer for some of that time. He has served on the Kansas Commission for Emergency Planning and Response since 2018.