TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback claimed victory Tuesday night in a race that saw him trailing in the polls for most of the final month leading up to the general election.
In what turned out to be a see-saw race throughout the night, Brownback began pulling ahead of Democratic challenger Paul Davis about two hours after the polls closed and then never looked back.
The embattled incumbent defeated Davis 50-46 percent.
Davis had argued Brownback’s tax-cutting initiative had wrecked the state’s finances, and the election essentially became a referendum on Brownback’s aggressive tax cutting initiatives and his conservative values.
Brownback successfully pushed legislators to cut the state’s top personal income tax rate by 26 percent and exempt the owners of 191,000 businesses from income taxes altogether.
“What a night everybody!” Brownback exclaimed during his victory speech at the Maner Convention Center in Topeka Tuesday night. “I feel like the end of a 15th round of a Rocky match”.
“You guys did it, making over a million phone calls, the volunteers did it, we did it we won another four years,” he exhorted his followers, congratulating Davis on running “a good race.
“Ideas and direction do matter and I think that’s what the state of Kansas, the people of Kansas and the people of America said tonight,” he stated. “We’ve made bold moves, in some cases tough moves to get our state going again, making the Kansas comeback a reality for our state and for our kids.”
Davis, who held his watch party in his hometown of Lawrence called Brownback to concede the race just before 10:30 p.m.
“While we fell just short of what we wanted, I would do it all over again in a second,” he said.”I’m just as proud to be a Kansan tonight, as I have ever been.”