Mast again weighing political future; Otto enters 76th District race as independent

The race for the 76th District House seat is once again in flux.

Incumbent Rep. Peggy Mast, who considered not running for re-election last fall before deciding to run, is again strongly considering dropping out.

{wbty_audio audio_id="3592" audio_title="Mast: In discussions as we speak"}

Mast is not naming her potential replacement, but she says that person needs to be a leader, especially with the influx of new people in the House.

Mast says she has enjoyed the legislative process, but she caught a lot of flak last year for voting to approve a budget which ultimately cut money to Emporia State University. She said she worked hard to resolve those issues this session.

{wbty_audio audio_id="3593" audio_title="Mast: Post-ESU discussions hurt last year"}

Mast re-entered the race very shortly after former Coffey County Representative Jeff Freeman got in the race. Freeman exited with Mast's announcement but later re-entered.

Meanwhile, Bill Otto, a longtime Republican and one-time Representative of the Ninth District before it was broken apart during redistricting two years ago, is jumping into the race as an independent. Otto tells KVOE News he was disgusted with the most recent education funding discussion and with a change in state law this session about changing party affiliations before primary elections.

{wbty_audio audio_id="3594" audio_title="Otto: Stop the hard right"}

Otto says he brings a pro-life, education-friendly approach to his run. He also says he wants to reduce the amount of regulations that, he says, keep sprouting up.

{wbty_audio audio_id="3595" audio_title="Otto: Regulations proliferating"}

Two years ago, he faced Mast and former Representative Willie Prescott, finishing third in the primary.

Otto is filing by petition and needs 577 signatures to go on the general election ballot. He joins another former Republican, Teresa Briggs, who is running as a Democrat in this race.

The primary is Aug. 5. The general election is Nov. 4.

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