- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republicans in the Kansas House have elected a Bonner Springs lawmaker to serve as majority party whip.

Rep. Willie Dove received 47 votes on the third and final ballot Wednesday, compared with 44 votes for Rep. Brett Hildabrand of Shawnee. The whip counts votes and lines up support for GOP leaders on major legislation.

Dove is an insurance salesman first elected to the House in 2012.

Republican Reps. Bill Sutton of Gardner and Erin Davis of Olathe also sought the whip’s job but were eliminated on the first and second ballots.

The position was open because Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr. of Olathe stepped down.

Ryckman was elected to the post in December, but House Speaker Ray Merrick later named him chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

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