Rep. Mark Samsel (left), Wellsville Republican, talks with Osawatomie USD 367 Superintendent Justin Burchett before the start of a legislative breakfast in February 2020 at Osawatomie High School. Samsel won the House District 5 primary Tuesday, Aug. 4, to advance to the general election in the fall where he will face Democratic challenger Roger Sims.

Rep. Mark Samsel

Rep. Mark Samsel said it is important to hold party leadership accountable on both sides of the aisle.

Voters showed solid support for the Wellsville Republican — giving him a 20-point win in the House District 5 primary race Aug 4.

Samsel garnered 60 percent of the vote in the district — 64 percent in Miami County — to defeat challenger Mark Powls of Garnett by a count of 2,149 to 1,417 votes.

“It sends a strong message that Miami County appreciates our transparency and doing right by Kansans first, which means not only holding myself accountable, but also party leadership on both sides of the aisle,” Samsel said. “With a resounding 20-point win in Miami County and across the district as a whole — especially after the ugly smear tactics of a misguided few — it gives me confidence that House District 5 will continue to lead the way for change that Kansas greatly needs.”


In the Republican primary for House District 6, Samantha Poetter matched Samsel’s percentage in Miami County by receiving 64 percent of the ballots cast with 2,708 votes to Clifford Blackmore’s 1,541 votes. All of District 6 is contained in Miami County.

The two Paola Republicans were vying to fill a seat left vacant by longtime Rep. Jene Vickrey. The Louisburg Republican announced his retirement after serving in the post for 28 years.

“I’m grateful to have received nearly 65 percent of the vote, but it could not have been done without the grassroots support I had along the way,” Poetter said. “From joining me in the parade to knocking doors and putting out signs I had a solid base of nearly 50 volunteers who live right here in House District 6. Proud to have had a campaign that was by the people and for the people.”

Voters did not endorse Louisburg USD 416’s two-question bond proposal, but Prairie View USD 362 fared better with voters in Linn and Miami counties who approved the district’s $7.5 million bond proposal for renovations and additions.

“The USD 362 Board of Education, Prairie View staff and students are pleased that the voters approved our $7,500,000 bond issue for additions and renovations to Prairie View High School,” said Dr. Rex Bollinger, superintendent of Prairie View schools.


County Clerk Janet White of Beagle and challenger Matthew Mercer of Louisburg met in the Republican party’s only other primary race with incumbent White winning 3,315 to 2,039 votes.

“I am grateful to be able to continue to work for the citizens of Miami County,” White said. “I appreciate the support that was shown to me and our office.”

Other incumbent Miami County officials ran unopposed in their Republican primaries to advance to the fall election. Those officials are Sheriff Frank Kelly, County Attorney Elizabeth Sweeney-Reeder, Register of Deeds Katie Forck and Treasurer Jennie Fyock.

County commissioners Rob Roberts and George Pretz also ran unopposed in their Republican primaries to advance

Miami County had a voter turnout of 30.64 percent, breaking the mark of 24.98 percent set in the 2018 primary.


“The voter turnout in this year’s primary election was impressive, not only here in Miami County, but across the state,” Poetter said. “Average turnout was around 30 percent, and average Republican turnout surpassed the 50 percent mark in some areas.”

White noted a larger-than-normal turnout in Louisburg, where voters had an opportunity to weigh in on the school district’s bond election, as a contributing factor to the strong Miami County turnout.

“Louisburg did have a higher turnout, and there were still people in line at 7 p.m.,” White said. “So, our volunteer poll workers didn’t get back to our office until about 10 p.m. At that time, we were still working to get other reporting sites checked in and finalized. All of the USD 416 sites had increased voting. We love to see that turnout, but it did mean that there was more data to process.”


Louisburg USD 416 voters rejected the proposed $27.6 million bond in the first question of a two-part proposal by a count of 1,625 “no” votes to 1,181 “yes” votes.

The first question addressed district needs that were divided into three main categories: $10.1 million for facility and efficiency upgrades, $9 million for enhanced learning environments, and $8.5 million for safety and security, according to the school district.

Voters also did not support the second question, a proposal to construct a $6.9 million four-field, baseball/softball complex on school property. Voters turned it down with 1,920 “no” votes to 889 “yes” votes.

Louisburg resident Bob Kirkpatrick said he’s not against taxes in general, but he would have rather seen the school district propose a $5 to $10 million bond issue featuring critical needs rather than what he called a “long wish list.”

Kirkpatrick took it upon himself to campaign against USD 416’s two-question school bond proposal by making signs and flyers and knocking on about 2,500 doors during a three-week period.

“I want the school board members to wake up and represent the taxpayers,” Kirkpatrick said. “The taxpayers won.”

Kirkpatrick said he hopes the school district comes back to voters with a revised proposal featuring only the top priorities.


With all precincts reporting in Miami and Linn counties, the Prairie View school bond question passed with 752 “yes” votes to 536 “no” votes, according to the unofficial election results.

A majority of the voters were in Linn County, where the bond question passed with 623 “yes” votes compared to 438 “no” votes.

The bond question also passed in Miami County, where it received 129 “yes” votes and 98 “no” votes.

“We would like to thank voters for placing trust in us in making the correct decisions moving forward on this bond project,” Prairie View superintendent Bollinger said.

While the primary featured two contested House races, state Sens. Caryn Tyson and Molly Baumgardner ran unopposed in their Republican primaries.

Tyson will face Democratic primary winner Mike Bruner in the 12th District race, and Baumgardner will meet Democratic primary winner Becca Peck in the fall. Bruner and Peck also ran unopposed on the opposite side of the ticket.

On the national level, the Associated Press called Roger Marshall the winner of the Republican primary to fill retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat Tuesday evening after Marshall built a comfortable lead early in the race.

When the final tallies came in, Marshall received 40 percent of the vote in a race that featured 11 Republican candidates. Kris Kobach finished second with 26 percent of the vote, and local resident Bob Hamilton finished third with 19 percent of the vote. Hamilton won Miami County.

Senator Roberts tweeted out a congratulations to Marshall Tuesday evening: “Congratulations to my friend and colleague, Dr. Roger Marshall, on clinching the Kansas Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.”

Marshall will face Barbara Bollier in the general election. Bollier carried 86 percent of the vote to win the Democratic primary.

The county clerk’s office added more volunteers for this election in anticipation of a high turnout and with additional help needed to carry out the health procedures the clerk’s office implemented to protect voters, volunteers and staff in response to COVID-19.

“All in all, it was exciting to have so many new workers and the supervising judges involved in the process. I believe they did a great job,” White said. “While we all like to have the results fast, I am more concerned about having results that are accurate. We took extra precautions this year and paused to double check our work a few times on election night as a way to make sure that our reporting was accurate. I am confident in saying that we achieved that goal.”

Poetter, who is running unopposed in the fall election, outlined some of her goals.

“Moving forward, I hope to engage even more voters in the electoral process, work to grow the party, and keep constituents informed of what is happening in the Kansas Legislature,” Poetter said. “My goal is to be a representative everyone in the district can count on to keep them informed and up to date on the issues, making sure that they have their voices heard.”


Samsel does have opposition in the general election Nov. 3. He will face challenger Roger Sims, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The representative talked about his desire to return to Topeka and push back against special interest groups.

“It is a dangerous proposition to send elected representatives who will not speak up for their district, and thus enable too much power in too few hands,” Samsel said. “Otherwise the special interests will continue to dominate the agenda over our leadership and collective public interest.

“Without leaders willing to push back, we end up with merely rubber stamps rather than representation in Topeka,” he said. “That is not how we best help Kansans achieve the American dream.”

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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