TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican novice Steve Watkins has won a congressional race in eastern Kansas that Democrats had hoped to flip to their column.
Watkins defeated Democrat Paul Davis in Tuesday’s election in the 2nd District. Watkins will replace retiring five-term GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins.
The district leans Republican and President Donald Trump carried it by nearly 17 percentage points in 2016. Watkins had Trump’s endorsement.
Democrats saw an opportunity because Davis was better known as a former Kansas House minority leader. Davis won the district in an unsuccessful run for governor in 2014.
Davis pitched himself as a bipartisan problem solver.
Watkins is a former Army officer and government contractor. He overcame questions about living outside Kansas most of his adult life and being caught embellishing his accomplishments.