Nov 19, 2020 3:37 PM

LaTurner humbled to be elected to Congress, says real work is ahead

Posted Nov 19, 2020 3:37 PM
Jake LaTurner during the campaign/Photo courtesy of Kansans for LaTurner
Jake LaTurner during the campaign/Photo courtesy of Kansans for LaTurner

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Congressman-elect Jake LaTurner says he’s ready to go to Washington to represent the Second Congressional District of Kansas.

LaTurner had to win two elections to get there, first deciding to run against incumbent Republican Steve Watkins in the primary. LaTurner, the Kansas State Treasurer, acknowledges top Kansas Republicans urged him to abandon any thoughts of running for U.S. Senate and concentrate on the Congressional seat.

“What really mattered to me was hearing from voters across the Second Congressional District,” LaTurner tells St. Joseph Post. “People in the Second Congressional District very much wanted a new representative in Congress and they called me and they told me about that. I was very humbled by the support.”

The Second Congressional District hugs the eastern border of Kansas, except for the cutout of the greater Kansas City area, a huge district which stretches from Nebraska to Oklahoma. It includes much of northeast Kansas.

LaTurner won the Republican primary over Watkins, receiving 49% of the vote compared to Watkins’ 34%. He won big in the General Election, though many thought Democrat Michelle De La Isla, the Topeka mayor, would provide tough competition. LaTurner received 55% of the vote to 41% for De La Isla.

LaTurner credits a lot of hard work.

“We’re really humbled by it, honestly,” LaTurner says. “We had a clear message. We communicated it to the voters. We’re really proud of the results and understand the responsibility that comes along with that.”

Nationally, Democrats targeted the seat and spent a lot of money during the campaign. LaTurner says some of the statements made by national Democratic leaders during the summer of unrest, especially the rallying cry of defund the police, turned off residents of the Second Congressional District.

Instead, LaTurner ran on what his campaign called the “Contract with Kansas.”

“Again, (it’s) an attractive message when you say that you believe in individual responsibility, freedom, lower taxes, less government intervention in your life; that you support the Second Amendment, that you support our law enforcement officers,” according to LaTurner. “That is a message that Americans believe in.”

LaTurner says he understands the real work lies ahead.

“And now the real key to all of this is to not just talk about it during a campaign year, but to go to Washington, D.C. and get to work and actually get something done.”