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Firebrand Rep. Huelskamp Survives Surprisingly Close Primary Challenge

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AP Photo / Jeff Tuttle

With 82 percent reporting Huelskamp was beating LaPolice 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.

That's after various points throughout the night where it looked like Huelskamp could actually lose to the little-known challenger. At some points Huelskamp led LaPolice by single digits, despite the congressman's national prominence and LaPolice's comparative anonymity.

Huelskamp has often been one of the most outspoken tea party conservatives in the House. In January he lashed out at MSNBC for tweeting that conservatives hated a Cheerios ad that aired during the Super Bowl that featured a biracial family. And in April, after news broke that the medical uninsured rate fell to its lowest level in years, Huelskamp, again, got attention when he claimed that it actually went up in his state. In January Huelskamp also voted against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for speaker.

LaPolice, who has gotten little national attention, had received a significant infusion of cash ($260,000) to help his candidacy from the Now or Never PAC. That's a big sum in a House primary in Kansas.

A set of major farm industry groups also gave LaPolice something of a boost by sending out a joint statement strongly criticizing Huelskamp over the ethanol proposal. Those groups included the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Association of Ethanol Processors, and the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

It was particularly helpful for LaPolice who struggled in fundraising.

LaPolice attacked Huelskamp for co-sponsoring legislation that cut federal ethanol subsidies, a significant bill in a farm state like Kansas.

This post was updated.