November 8, 2012
Democrat state representatives are becoming an endangered species in western Kansas.
Tuesday's elections left Democratic State Rep. Jan Pauls of Hutchinson as the only member of her party from the western half of the state.
Three incumbent Democrats from the region lost: Sen. Allen Schmidt of Hays, and Reps. Eber Phelps of Hays, and Vincent Wetta of Wellington.
Democrats will have about the same number of seats at the statehouse next year as in the previous session: eight in the Senate and 32 to 34 seats in the House, depending on the outcome of close races.
The Hutchinson News reports western Kansas Democrats believe their numbers have declined largely because the focus in elections has shifted from local to national issues.
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