Tonganoxie teen wins Democratic primary in House race - KCTV5

Tonganoxie teen wins Democratic primary in House race

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Austin Lee Harris of Tonganoxie beat 51-year-old Harold Fevurly Jr. of rural Easton on Tuesday by a vote of 302-241, according to unofficial results. (Austin Harris via Twitter @harris4house42) Austin Lee Harris of Tonganoxie beat 51-year-old Harold Fevurly Jr. of rural Easton on Tuesday by a vote of 302-241, according to unofficial results. (Austin Harris via Twitter @harris4house42)
TONGANOXIE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

An 18-year-old recent high school graduate has won a Democratic primary and will compete in November for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Austin Lee Harris of Tonganoxie beat 51-year-old Harold Fevurly Jr. of rural Easton on Tuesday by a vote of 302-241, according to unofficial results.

While many 18-year-olds are just trying to enjoy their last summer before going off to college, Harris is now thinking about November elections.

"My concern was that as, an 18-year-old, I wouldn't be taken seriously," he said.

A recent Tonganoxie High School graduate, Harris enjoys books on politics, taking care of his two dogs and playing bass guitar in a jazz band. He's your average incoming college freshman, but he's running a campaign for state representative out of his living room.

"I'll go meet someone and talk campaign strategy and then I'll come back and I'll put laundry in a box to take to Washburn next week. It's funny how the two things are coming together," he said.

Harris won the Democratic Primary for the 42nd House District and hopes to provide a voice for moderates in the district. The main issue on his platform is improving Kansas schools.

"I knew that public education gave me opportunities I couldn't get anywhere else. I wanted to make sure that's still there for the future of Kansas students," he said.

He's running as a Democrat in a historically conservative district. He next will face incumbent 67-year-old Republican Rep. Connie O'Brien of Tonganoxie in the Nov. 4 general election.

If he defeats O'Brien, Harris will be one of the youngest state congressmen in Kansas history. Win or lose, he says it's important for young people to get involved in the Democratic process.

"You're never too young to get active. If you want something changed, you can get out there and be the change you want to see," Harris said.

The district includes western Leavenworth County and southern Douglas County, including the cities of Easton, Tonganoxie and Eudora. Harris said if he wins in November, he'll take spring semester off to focus on his new job.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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