State Treasurer Jake LaTurner ousts freshman Rep. Steve Watkins in Kansas Republican primary

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ state treasurer has unseated freshman Rep. Steve Watkins in the Republican primary with Watkins facing felony criminal charges.

Treasurer Jake LaTurner’s victory in Tuesday’s election came only three weeks after the district attorney in Watkins’ home of Shawnee County filed the charges.

Watkins is accused of voting illegally in a Topeka City Council race in November 2019 and trying to mislead a sheriff’s detective investigating Watkins’ listing of a UPS Inc. store postal box as his residence on a state voter registration form. Watkins has called the criminal charges “bogus” but LaTurner argued that the criminal case made Watkins a vulnerable general election candidate.

Watkins is a former Army officer and military contractor who barely won his seat in 2018 as a political novice. LaTurner is a former state senator who has served as treasurer since 2017.

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