RESULTS: Republican Jake LaTurner projected to defeat Democrat Michelle De La Isla in Kansas’ 2nd District

After defeating freshman incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins in the Republican primary, Jake LaTurner is projected to defeat Michelle De La Isla to represent Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District.

The candidates

LaTurner is currently the Kansas State Treasurer, a position he has held since 2017 when he was appointed by the state’s governor. Prior to being elected as treasurer, he served as a state senator for four years where he represented the state’s 13th District.

In 2018, Kansas reportedly returned more than $US25.5 million in previously unclaimed assets to Kansans under LaTurner’s leadership, a state record according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. LaTurner’s campaign priorities included enacting a constitutional amendment to establish term limits for members of Congress, lowering taxes, building a wall on the US’ southern border, and requiring employment and drug testing for welfare recipients.

De La Isla, LaTurner’s Democratic opponent, is the current mayor of Topeka, the state’s capital. She primarily grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to Kansas and graduating from Wichita State University.

A former teacher, De La Isla also spent time as the executive director of Topeka’s Habitat for Humanity. She ran on a campaign platform centered around expanding Medicaid, investing in public schooling, and including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients.

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The district

Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District is located on the eastern side of the state and covers much of the state’s eastern border with Missouri. It is home to the state’s capital, Topeka, and the University of Kansas, which is located in Lawrence, in addition to some rural areas and farmland.

During the 2016 presidential election, the district overwhelmingly voted for now-President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in a 56-37 per cent split of the vote, according to Daily Kos Elections.

In Kansas’ 2018 gubernatorial election between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Kris Kobach, the district voted for Kelly over Kobach by a margin of nine percentage points, 50% to 41%.

The money race

According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, De La Isla raised around $US1.6 million, spent nearly $US1 million, and had about $US612,000 in cash on hand while LaTurner raised about $US1.4 million, spent nearly $US1 million, and had around $US343,000 in cash on hand.

What experts say

The race between De La Isla and LaTurner was rated as “safe Republican” by Inside Elections and “likely Republican” by The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Centre for Politics.

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