EDITOR'S NOTE: A look back at some of the top stories in 2014.
By JUDY SHERARD
Despite much campaign rhetoric to the contrary, voters returned incumbents to office in the November state elections.
Voters approved the full Republican slate of candidates including incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and State Treasurer Ron Estes, and Republican Ken Selzer defeated Democrat Dennis Anderson for insurance commissioner.
Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, both Republicans, also defeated their challengers.
Republican Sue Boldra will return to Topeka for a second term representing the 111th District.
Boldra defeated Democrat James Leiker, who will continue serving as Hays USD 489 Board of Education president.
Republican Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady ran unopposed for the 110th District seat.
Marcy McClelland also ran unopposed for the Ellis County Commission.
A ballot recount because of an error in counting paper ballots showed a difference in the final numbers but not the election results, Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus said.
Final numbers were Boldra 4,472, and Leiker 3,330. McClelland received 2,743 votes in the final tally.
At just more than 57 percent for the midterm election, voter turnout was solid for a midterm election, Maskus said.
Voter turnout for the Ellis USD 388 bond issue also was heavy, she said.
"Over at Ellis, the supervisor said there were times they had over 100 (voters) an hour," Maskus said after the election.
The Ellis USD 388 $9 million bond failed, with the final recount vote of 775-475 in Ellis County. There are a few USD 388 patrons in Trego County, but not enough to change the results.
Ellis Superintendent Bob Young said he expected a closer vote on the bond.
Hill City USD 281 voters did approve a $7.65 million bond issue by a vote of 687-415 in Graham County.
The bond passed in all three communities -- Hill City, Morland and Bogue -- the school district serves, Hill City Superintendent Jim Hickel said.
The money will be used to upgrade building exterior envelopes, electrical systems and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, security systems and intercoms at the elementary and junior/senior high schools.
Hickel said approximately 50 percent of the money will go to improve the HVAC system, and drainage issues in the elementary school playground will be addressed.
Projects at the junior/senior high include replacing single-pane windows and improvements to the storm shelter, parking lot, auditorium and locker rooms.
A new all-weather track will be installed at Ringneck Stadium, as well as a new restroom, concession and storage facility.
The bond will increase property taxes $49.74 annually on a $50,000 home, $74.61 on a $75,000 home and $99.48 on a $100,00 home.