Candidates for Kansas 2nd District U.S. House seat

Those seeking the Kansas 2nd District U.S. House seat are, from left, Republican Steve Watkins, Libertarian Kelly Standley and Democrat Paul Davis.

ATCHISON, Kan. — Steve Watkins found just enough votes to keep Democrats from taking half of Kansas U.S. Congressional seats.

At about 11 p.m. Tuesday, Davis conceded the race, having obtained 119,999 votes, or 46 percent, against Watkins’ 124,245 votes, 48 percent. Davis enjoyed a healthy lead through most of the evening, but Watkins closed the distance in the waning hours.

Watkins spoke to Atchison Globe in Leavenworth, Kansas, on Saturday, expressing confidence that he can rally just enough support in a close race. However, he acknowledged, enthusiasm on both sides has been high, and it would probably come down to the wire.

“We’re very determined. We’re very impassioned. We’re working together as a unified Republican Party to get all of our candidates across the finish line on Tuesday,” Watkins said. “Both sides are fired up ... It’s a testament to how important this race is to Kansas and to the country.”

Davis wrapped up his campaign over the weekend, touring all 25 of the congressional district he hopes to represent, ending up Sunday at one of Northeast Kansas’ most historic homes.

He led Kansas Democrats in the state House of Representatives from 2009 to 2015. On Sunday, he said he’s focused on unifying his voters ahead of Tuesday’s election.

The race against Republican Steve Watkins has been considered especially close by most national pollsters, and a possible bellwether for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. However, The New York Times projected that Democrats had a greater than 99 percent chance to take control of the chamber overall.

“You know, I’ve formed lots of bipartisan coalitions with Republicans,” Davis said on Sunday. “Regardless of who’s in charge, I think we need people in Congress to try to bring us together to get some things done.”

Davis pledges to control drug prices and combat economic inequality.

“We got to get this economy working again for working people,” Davis said. “It’s working very well for people who are at the very top of the income scale, but it’s not working well for the rest of us. We got to get a Congress that is accountable to us.”

Marcus Clem can be reached



Candidate Votes Percent Precincts Reporting
Steve Watkins (R) 124,245 46 920 of 924
Paul Davis (D) 119,999 48 920 of 924
Kelly Standley (L) 14,323 5.5 920 of 924