Republicans pick Howerton for House

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Sedgwick County Republicans on Thursday night picked a former Kansas House candidate to replace the late state Rep. Ron Howard in the Legislature.

Cyndi Howerton won the race to fill Howard’s seat in House District 98, which covers parts of Haysville, Oaklawn and south central Wichita. Howard died July 20.

She won with all eight votes. No one else secured a nomination for the position.

Howerton ran unsuccessfully last year for the House District 86 seat that was won by Democrat Stephanie Byers, who was elected as the state’s first transgender lawmaker.

Howerton is an area manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and has managed more than 20 of its retail offices for more than 17 years.

Cyndi Howerton

When she ran last year, Howerton won endorsements from Kansans for Life, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

This year, she had the support of Republican state Rep. Nick Hoheisel and Republican state Sen. Mike Petersen.

“I’ve gotten to know Cyndi, and her husband Con, over the last few years while helping on Republican campaigns,” Hoheisel said in an email to Republicans.

“I’ve seen the passion Cyndi has for serving others, as well as her faith in God,” he wrote.

“Cyndi is a hard campaigner and will be able to hold off the onslaught of money the Democrats will undoubtedly spend to try to buy the 98th District seat.”

Petersen said Howerton has demonstrated “strong conservative values.”

“We have campaigned with Cyndi and know she has and is willing to put in the hard work it takes to represent the district,” he and his wife wrote in an email.

Petersen noted that Howerton and her family decided to stay in south Wichita after purchasing a new home.

Republican state Rep. Emil Bergquist also gave Howerton an endorsement, saying “she will work hard and will always seek the best answer.”

The district has shown itself to be conservative, although Democrat Steve Crum held the seat for a term before losing to Howard in 2018.

Former President Donald Trump carried the district with 60% of the vote last year, and U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall won it with 54% of the vote.