Rematch costs Republican lawmaker seat in Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in Topeka has lost his Kansas House seat to the Democrat that he narrowly defeated two years ago.

State Rep. Lane Hemsley was defeated by former state Rep. Virgil Weigel in Tuesday’s election in the 56th District.

Weigel retired as an agent of the Department of Revenue’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in 2011 and won the House seat the next year with a little less than 52 percent of the vote.

Hemsley is an attorney who defeated Weigel in 2014 by 40 votes out of more than 8,900 cast.

Democrats saw an opportunity to regain the seat because of voter discontent with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the state’s ongoing budget problems. Hemsley tried to distance himself from the governor on tax and education issues.

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