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Newcomer ousts longtime incumbent

8/4/2010

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

ST. FRANCIS -- Ward Cassidy was still walking on air this morning when he took his dog out for a stroll.

He was, after all, victorious in his campaign against incumbent John Faber, a legislative powerhouse who has served in the 120th House District since 1997.

"I'm excited," Cassidy said this morning, after returning from his walk. "I tell you that."

Cassiday's upset victory was just one of several primary House races decided Tuesday.

In the 110th House District, covering part of Ellis County and all of Rooks, Osborne and Russell counties, Dan L. Collins, Plainville, emerged as the winner on the Republican ticket. He has no Democratic opponent in the November contest.

With 1,818 votes -- more than half of them from Rooks County -- Collins was able to beat out Mark Schulte, Victoria, who had looked to be on his way to a victory earlier Tuesday evening.

The Rooks County vote results came in late, sending Collins to the top. Robert D. "Bob" Miller, Russell, ended with 1,54 votes.

In other House races, incumbents had a relatively easy path to victory:

* 118th House District -- Incumbent Don Hineman, Dighton, with 3,478 votes, easily outpaced challenger Robert Tilford, La Crosse, with 673 votes.

* 109th House District -- Incumbent Clay Aurand, Courtland, with 2,321 votes, beat out Trey Allen Joy, Smith Center, who had 1,196 votes.

* 121st House District -- Incumbent Jim Morrison, Colby, with 2,382 votes, beat Brenda McCants, Goodland, who picked up 1,396 votes.

It was the battle between Cassidy and Faber, however, that provided an interesting outcome.

Cassidy credits a network of supporters in the five-county area that makes up the 120th District -- Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton and Phillipsburg.

"I think that's what made the difference," he said.

That and getting out and about several days each week, making a regular circuit of visiting the larger communities in the district.

Cassidy said he was recruited by a number of people to run for the office. It wasn't such a difficult recruitment task, however.

"I really felt like we needed to stand up for the small communities in Kansas and make them viable," he said.

It wasn't a big money campaign, Cassidy said, noting that he only spent about $5,000, and he didn't charge for mileage for making the circuit across the district.

"I had enough money for one post card," he said, and that was only sent to residents in the larger communities.

Cassidy said he was contacted Tuesday night by Faber, who, he said, was "very gracious" and offered to help in any way possible.

"I really appreciate him calling and offering to help," he said.

The contest isn't complete yet, however.

In November, Cassidy will face Bob Strevy, a Norcatur Democrat who has taken on Faber in the past.

A retired high school principal, Cassidy said his interests include education and economic development of small communities in kansas.

"Anything I can do for growth," he said of what he hopes to do if elected in November.