At an election night watch party at the Hilton Hotel in Wichita, supporters of Todd Tiahrt in his campaign for United States Senate were encouraged by early returns from Sedgwick and Johnson counties.
Tiahrt led and won in the state’s two largest counties.
But as western Kansas votes started to be tallied, Jerry Moran‘s margin steadily increased as votes for the popular western Kansas Congressman rolled in. The Associated Press called the race for Moran.
At shortly after midnight, Tiahrt and his wife Vicki entered the hotel ballroom to rousing applause from his supporters.
“We want Todd! We want Todd!” chanted the crowd.
“Thank you very much. I love you guys,” said the candidate. He said we ran a strong campaign.
We have a great country, a resilient county, he said. “Lower taxes, smaller government — this is what Kansans want — and what we campaigned on.” He said that he won the third and fourth Congressional districts. The win by Tiahrt in Johnson County was unexpected by most observers.
He thanked his supporters and said he was sorry that he didn’t win.
Addressing the audience, Vicki Tiahrt thanked the supporters and volunteers. “We are winners tonight,” she said.
After his speech, Tiahrt said that his goal is to have a Republican Senator elected from Kansas, so he will be calling Jerry Moran to offer his congratulations and support. He also said he will work to make sure Mike Pompeo is elected to Congress as his successor.
He listed some of his accomplishments — the repeal of the Wright amendment, a new runway at the Wichita airport, grade separations in downtown Wichita, and the capture of the BTK serial killer — and said he had a good run in Congress.
He added that he believes that Pompeo will work as hard as he has.
Asked if he would consider running for other office he said it’s too early to think about that now.