Kansas Lawmaker Joe Edward Dies

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HAYSVILLE, Kan. (WIBW/AP) — A Kansas lawmaker who lost his re-election primary battle earlier this month has died.

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick of Stillwell announced Wednesday that Rep. Joe Edwards of Haysville died late Tuesday of a suspected heart attack. Smith Mortuary in Haysville confirmed his death.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has ordered flags in Kansas to fly at half-staff to honor the passing of Edwards.

“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Representative Joe Edwards,” said Governor Brownback. “We are grateful for his service to the state. The Lt. Governor and I, along with Mary and Ruth, extend our sympathies to Joe’s wife Sally. We will hold her in our prayers during this difficult time.”

The 60-year-old Republican legislator served one term before losing the primary election to John Whitmer in the 93rd District.

Clay Barker, the executive director for the Kansas Republican Party, said Wednesday that Edwards was well liked by his fellow representatives.

Barker said Edwards was on the conservative side, but had a populist streak and was always looking out for the common man.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Edwards family and all of his friends during this difficult time,” said House Speaker Ray Merrick (R-Stillwell)

Smith Mortuary says funeral arrangements are pending.