TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Army veteran Steve Watkins has won the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas in his first run for political office.
Watkins, from Topeka, prevailed Tuesday in a field of seven candidates that included four state legislators and a former Kansas House speaker.
"I want to say thank you, thank you for believing in me and right now is a time of unity our republican party and our success depends on coming together now in this critical time," Watkins said.
He will face Democrat Paul Davis in the November election. Davis is a Lawrence attorney and a former Kansas House minority leader who narrowly lost the 2014 governor's race to Republican incumbent Sam Brownback.
Davis described Washington as broken and said he has a proven record of being able to bring both sides of the aisle together. He told 13 NEWS he thinks voters will have a "very clear choice" when they go to the ballot box on November 6th.
"We can send somebody from Kansas to Congress or we can send somebody from Alaska who is in Alaskan millionaire to Congress," Davis said. "He hasn’t lived here for years and years and years and years and hasn’t bothered to even vote during the time he’s been eligible to vote."
Watkins said he voted several times while stationed in Alaska for his army service. He also said he didn't vote while overseas because his focus was on safety rather than politics.
"I am a strong republican with good conservative values I have had my whole adult life, and I cant wait to work together with all republicans and beating Paul Davis in November," Watkins said.
Watkins won after his physician-father formed a political action committee that spent at least $570,000 to help him. The younger Watkins also emphasized his outsider status and military service in Afghanistan.
The 2nd District seat is open because five-term Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins did not seek re-election.