State Rep. Bill Light, R-Rolla, pulled a political U-turn and withdrew his bid for re-election in the 124th House District.
Dan Widder Jr., a Ulysses Republican who assumed he would face a primary election fight this Aug. 3, now is the only candidate pursuing the office.
Light, 61, said he didn't know Widder, and he simply had decided 12 years in the Legislature were enough. He said there was nothing in particular that occurred during the session to prompt him to end his bid, begun when he filed Jan. 8, 2010, to run again. He withdrew his candidacy Wednesday, according to the Kansas secretary of state's staff.
The Legislature recently wrapped up a session where lawmakers had to close a revenue gap and vote on a number of proposed regulations. Light voted to raise the state sales tax from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent. He also supported a statewide ban on smoking in public places. Widder said Monday he would have voted "no" on both issues.
Widder described himself as a conservative Republican who wants to rein in spending and roll back regulations.
Widder is a risk management consultant for Ag Services. Previously, he was a member of the Ulysses Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant before leaving the department after 14 years. He graduated from Ulysses High School and attended Dodge City Community College and Central Missouri State University. He is working toward a college degree in business management, a press release said.
The 124th District covers the state's southwest corner, including all of Morton, Stanton, Grant, and Stevens counties, and western Haskell County and northern Seward County. Widder collected more than the 140-plus signatures needed to file by petition. He announced his candidacy Monday.
Light is a farmer and a second-generation member of the Kansas House. His father, also Bill Light, was a Democrat who served two terms in the House.