Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Supporters Turn out to Exchange Cheers, Jeers at State Fair Debates ; Supporters Exchange Cheers, Jeers at Fair Debates

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Supporters Turn out to Exchange Cheers, Jeers at State Fair Debates ; Supporters Exchange Cheers, Jeers at Fair Debates

Article excerpt

The first of two political debates at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday sounded more like a college football game than a political event.

Supporters of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and of his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Paul Davis, of Lawrence, exchanged cheers before the candidates took the stage in Hutchinson.

And when both men took the stage, the crowd erupted into applause.

The raucous atmosphere continued through the debate.

Nick Reinicker, of Inman, came to the debates dressed as Can-Can the Clown. His patriotic-themed top hat, green shirt and rainbow overalls stood out against the gold of Brownback's supporters and the red shirts for Davis.

Reinicker ran for Kansas Senate in the 35th District and lost.

"I lost mainly because I believe in the whole cannabis issue and naturally occurring substances," he said before the first debate began.

Although he is a "Republican at heart and a Christian at heart," Reinicker said he agrees with issues on both sides.

During the debates, Reinicker walked around the crowd speaking to people.

"I'm hoping for honesty and compassion and gettin' her done for America in Jesus' name," he said about what he wanted to see in the gubernatorial debate.

Deborah Myers, from Whitewater, thought her first debate was "very intense." She rode to the fair with a bus full of Brownback supporters.

"It was interesting. We ate doughnuts," she said.

But for Myers, supporting Brownback meant supporting the only anti-abortion candidate.

On the other side of the arena were Davis supporters who would shout "no more years" in response to the "four more years" rallying cry from Brownback fans.

Ty Dragoo, of Topeka, said the water crisis and public education are two major issues for him.

"Water is something that affects us all," he said, wearing a red National Education Association T-shirt and holding a Davis-Docking sign. …

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