Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Incoming! A No Good, Very Bad, Head Desk Plan

Dear Friends, 

Please read this post from the comfort of your safe space, because it's going to be a bit critical of our team. I've been holding off on writing this, but it's tickling my brain so much I can't sleep. Apologies in advance.

Here goes:

Someone, somewhere has hashed a plan for the Second Congressional District. It's perhaps the dumbest thing I've heard in quite some time, and I watch CBS This Morning every weekday, so I hear a lot of dumb daily.

Conservative, Republican strategists have dreamt up a fail safe plan to turn the Second District blue. This plan is like a monkey humping a football--nothing good is created by the act, and the end result is a big old mess that embarrasses everyone who sees it.

Currently, Lynn Jenkins represents Kansas' Second Congressional District. She announced earlier this year that she'll abdicate the throne, leaving an opening for some savvy pol to move to the swamp. To date, Kansas State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Leavenworth Republican, has tossed his hat into the ring. His hat won't be lonely for long. Sen. Caryn Tyson, a Republican from Parker, is likely to announce some day soon as well. And I keep hearing Sen. Dennis Pyle is also considering his options. Tyson, Pyle, and Fitzgerald hail from the conservative side of the Republican Party. (I'm a fan.) Other Republicans likely to announce their candidacy: Todd Thompson, the Leavenworth County District Attorney, potentially Vicki Schmidt, and probably some candidate dredged up by Has-Beens. (I don't have an inside man with those folks, so your guess is as good as mine.)

The Dems will run former gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis, and some conservative strategists are working to draft another conservative candidate, because the "optics" of a race between an old white guy (sorry, Fitzgerald and Pyle) and Davis look bad. I still can't figure out how the optics of a woman (Tyson) against old white man Davis are bad. I think the "strategists" worry that Fitzgerald, Pyle, or Tyson are not easily controlled.

So they've drafted Rep. Kevin Jones, a conservative Republican from Wellsville. And guys, here's why this post hurts: I like almost all of these candidates, a lot. But I think Jones' chances of winning are about as high as the chances that I'll deliver sextuplets in Gardner Lake while surrounded by sharks.

Jones is an attractive guy with great values and a family made for political post cards, but he's not ready. He had an entire session to make a name for himself, and he didn't. According to rumor, the strategists believe Jones probably won't win, but he'll begin building name recognition for some other run somewhere down the line. Meanwhile, the strategists will groom Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner to run against Davis in 2020. Seriously, that's the plan: Lose the Second District so LaTurner can run when he's ready in 2020. (I hear LaTurner has no part in this plan.)

Guys, this is an awful, horrible, no good, very bad and baffling plan. Already, there's one conservative in the race--Fitzgerald--and without any strategizing, there is likely to be a second--Tyson. So why on earth would anyone draft a third one with a goal of losing?

If these strategists want to field a LaTurner candidacy, then do it now. Do not wait for 2020 and ruin Republican chances in 2018. 

Surely, I'm not the only person on the planet who remembers how impossible it was to unseat Congressman Dennis Moore. The only reason we have a Republican representing the Third District right now is a neurodegenerative disease, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

There's no reason to believe that beating Davis in 2020 would be a walk in the park, even if LaTurner is fresh off a statewide Treasurer tour giving away found money. 

If I knew for certain exactly who these strategists were, I would say something privately. And if I had only heard this rumor once or twice, I'd think someone was just planting stories. BUT I keep hearing it. And I've been asking around, and no one is denying it. 

I have no idea who the coach of the Kansas conservatives is, but apparently, tight coaching shorts are preventing blood flow to the brain.

With sincerest apologies for the graphic mental pictures this post may provoke and for saying harsh words about our team, 


P.S. I forgot to add this helpful nugget on first pass: Kansas may lose a Congressional seat come 2022 after reapportionment. (Thanks, tax increasers, for helping Missouri gain a Congressional seat.) If that occurs, a theoretical Congressman Paul Davis could be in the position to take out another Republican officeholder in a race between incumbents in 2022.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Surprise Guest at Olathe Republican Party Picnic

Several lawmakers failed to make appearances at the Olathe Republican Party picnic, but there was one surprise attendee. (The missing included quite a few Olathe Republican state legislators. What could have kept them away? I wonder.)


Anyway, there were a few unusual guests at the annual picnic: the media, who apparently is just following Kris Kobach around seeking protesters and/or Kobach gaffes. Neither put in an appearance. 

Another unusual guest? Ken Rahjes. Rahjes represents the 110th district in the Kansas House. He lives in Agra, Kansas, a long, long way from Olathe for those keeping count. Mapquest tells me it's about a 4.5-hour drive.

In 2015, Precinct committee men and women in the 110th district selected Rahjes to replace Travis Couture-Lovelady, famed-hatmaker/legislator-turned-NRA-lobbyist. 

At the time, Rahjes was considered the less-conservative of three candidates. He was elected to retain the seat in 2016, and his voting record is fairly conservative. For some baffling reason, he voted for the initial retroactive tax bill back in February, before reversing course and voting against the eventual tax increase that Brownback vetoed. He also voted against overriding the Governor's veto. (As an aside, his son worked for the Roger Marshall campaign. Ask me about that time the boys from the Marshall campaign beat me with their snobbery at a Yoder campaign event last fall. But that's all beside the point of this writing.)

So... what was a western Kansas pol doing at an Olathe Republican Party event? Clearly, planning to run for something. What? I don't know. I asked. He didn't answer. I'll just say, I'd play poker with that guy any day of the week.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Olathe Republican Party Picnic This Weekend

Prepare for so many boat shoes. Sigh.

The Olathe Republican Party Picnic kicks off this weekend. Hundreds of Republicans will descend on Cedar Lake, and far too many of them will be wearing boat shoes.

Because half of the world has already declared an intent to seek the Republican Party nomination for Governor in 2018, it should be an interesting affair. Candidates Wink Hartman and Kris Kobach will likely put in appearances. I highly doubt Jim Barnett and Ed O'Malley--the guys campaigning kind of like Democrats in the race attend. Olathe is an extremely conservative town and the Olathe Republican Party reflects that bent. Ed and Jim would be virtual aliens among the crowd. It will be fascinating to see which legislators show up. I anticipate a chilly reception for those who voted for that monstrous tax increase (complete with new spending and a busted budget by year 3!!)

At least one legislator, Keith Esau, is expected to announce his candidacy for Secretary of State. I'm told he won't be the only one making surprise announcements. (If I knew what the other announcements would be, I'd tell you.)

The Olathe Republican Party was one of the first things I blogged about when I started this little project. Here's what I wrote back in 2012:

Almost everyone there will be involved in a campaign for one or more candidates and everyone will be throwing around titles. Introductions will include full resumes. "Hi, I'm the (volunteer coordinator/communications director/campaign manager/candidate) for candidate X.I graduated cumma sum laude from University Y. I am the former city council member from Z and served on the Governor's Committee for a Better America. Stop by my booth/wear my sticker/take a yard sign."
Not much has changed, though the location is different. Because it's not an election year, some elected officials are skipping out. I hear Congressman Yoder is taking a pass as is Sen. Jerry Moran. (I'm sure Sen. Roberts has attended in the past--probably back when he was in his 40s, so... awhile ago. I don't anticipate seeing him tomorrow.)

As usual, most of the people who attend will be weirdos. Sorry friends. I'm including myself in that mix. Regular voters-- people who don't spend good parts of every day thinking about political stuff--are unlikely to be there. And since Yoder and Moran are skipping the event, we can hope that the protesting hippies in genital hats will skip, too.