The race for the Salina area 69th District Kansas House of Representatives seat will look familiar. The same two candidates who ran for the seat back in 2016 are running again.
Democrat Gerrett Morris is again challenging Republican incumbent J.R, Claeys.
Back on February 28th Claeys, who has represented the district since 2012, announced that he filed to run for reelection. Morris announced on Tuesday that he has filed for the seat as well.
Claeys is the chairman of the Transportation & Public Safety Budget committee, the vice chairman of the Joint State Building Construction committee, and serves as a member of the Appropriations committee and Commerce, Labor & Economic Development committee. He is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School and Kansas State University. In his campaign announcement Claeys said “next session we’ll have a new governor and new opportunities to focus on economic and population growth in our region”. He added “our assets in Salina and Saline County are not to be taken lightly. When we work together, some amazing things can happen.”
Morris is a life -long Saline County resident. He is a horticulturist at Rolling Hills Zoo. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School and Cloud County Community College. In his campaign announcement Morris said he “is tired of seeing the same old song and dance in Topeka.” He said he has long felt that he could help with the “heavy lifting necessary” in the State House to fix the formula for school funding. “Having an award winning teacher as a wife sure has taught me a lot about what the schools are doing right and what we could help make them better in Topeka,” he added.
This will be Morris’s third attempt to win the seat.
In 2010 Morris challenged Republican Tom Arpke for the seat and lost by 1,627 votes. The 2010 results were:
- Tom Arpke 3,733
- Gerrett Morris 2,106
In 2016 Morris challenged Claeys and lost by 277 votes. The 2016 results were:
- J.R. Claeys 3,852
- Gerrett Morris 3,575
As the 2016 campaign progressed, it turned bitter. Unflattering negative campaign literature was sent by supporters of both candidates to voters.
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