“Young candidate beats Love”

PDF: 2006 August, Olathe News, Primary win
The following article appeared in the Olathe Daily News.

“Young candidate beats Love”
The Olathe News
Sarah St. John

After winning Tuesday’s Republican primary, Benjamin Hodge could be on his way to becoming one of the youngest representatives in the Kansas Legislature.

The 26-year-old Hodge beat the Rev. Bobby Love in a tight race for the 49th District state representative seat. Hodge took 53 percent of the vote – 886 ballots – to Love’s 46 percent with 787 ballots.

This is Hodge’s first run at a state level office. His other political experience consisted of election to the Johnson County Community College’s Board of Trustees last year. Hodge is a student who is completing his master of business administration degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Hodge describes himself as a “Reagan Republican” who political stances include encouraging property rights, funding education adequately, not raising taxes and the ani-abortion agenda.

“I was optimistic going into this” Hodge said Tuesday night. “The issues are on my side in this because it’s a conservative district, and I’m pretty conservative.”

Hodge received the endorsements of conservative county commissioners John Toplikar and Doug Wood as well as Kansans for Life.

Hodge said he hoped for a wider margin of victory against Love, a longtime community leader and pastor the Second Baptist Church of Olathe. But Hodge said he respected Love and the positive campaign he ran.

The 49th District is composed of the northeast portion of Olathe and southwest part of Overland Park. Hodge said it’s hard to keep tabs on how many people live there because it’s growing so fast.

“I see it as a fairly young area, with a lot of young families and young singles, people 25 to 35,” Hodge said. “In the next 10 to 15 years, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with”.

The district had a particularly low turnout this election with just 1,673 votes cast. Hodge said about 3,200 people cast votes in the primary four years ago.

Hodge said he hopes the district will come together and stand behind him in the general election Nov. 7. Hodge will face Democrat Bond Faulwell at that time.

The election results will not be final until the Johnson County Board of Canvassers certifies the election Friday.