Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quick Gossip Drop

By now, everyone knows Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer is in the race for Governor. He joins Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, the guy from Prairie Village (or someplace), former GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett--aka, the guy campaigning as the Democrat in the Kansas Republican primary. Meanwhile, odds are Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will also enter the race, and he'll be an incumbent when he does.

Selzer filed paperwork last Friday to appoint a campaign treasurer. Why he opted to file on a Friday afternoon in August -- the time most likely to escape anyone's attention--is anyone's guess. Is his candidacy supposed to be a stealthy one?

Word on the street is prior to the filing, Selzer had a little pow-wow with former state Rep. Mark Hutton and House Speaker Ron Ryckman. The meeting was to determine which of the three should run for Governor. I like Selzer. Nice guy, but I put his odds of winning a crowded Republican primary for the state's top job right up there with my chances of winning the lottery. 

There's a chance, but it's a slim one. Knowing that Selzer may have been in cahoots with Hutton, who thinks giving someone a tax cut of less than $25,000 is worthless, isn't a point in Selzer's favor. 

But I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe Selzer doesn't realize that Hutton earns his living off the taxpayers in the form of government building contracts. Maybe Selzer doesn't realize that the former state representative thinks $1,000 is better spent by the government than by a small business owner. (See Hutton's baffling understanding of economics in the Wichita Eagle circa September 2016.) 

The closed door meeting between Selzer, Ryckman, and Hutton was followed by polling commissioned by Ryckman. The poll was to determine how bad that tax vote hurt the Speaker. Judging from the fact that Selzer emerged as "the candidate," I'm going to read some tea leaves, here: That vote to heap on Kansans a massive retroactive tax hike was about as popular as drowning puppies. 

Republicans are fortunate in that we have an extraordinarily deep bench--one that even includes Democrats (Looking at you, Barnett!). But, every Republican entering the race at this point is simply helping Kobach secure the nomination. If that is the Selzer-Ryckman-Hutton plan, they are likely to call it a success come August 2018.





Monday, July 31, 2017

Pardon Me While I Clear Up Some Kobach Speculation

Politico and some other gossip mongers (pot, meet kettle) are suggesting Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a possibility to replace Gen. John Kelly at Department of Homeland Security. Kelly started today as President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff leaving a gaping hole at the top of DHS.

In Politico's world, that means, "It may set the stage for a brutal confirmation fight if President Donald Trump tries to replace the retired Marine general with an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration instead of a seasoned bureaucrat or lawmaker." (I will spare you my very not-nice thoughts on seasoned bureaucrats and lawmakers. But ewww.)

I feel REALLY confident in saying the chances of Kobach accepting such a nomination when he's already announced his intention to run for Kansas Governor is about as likely as a man giving birth to a child. (Sorry. Not sorry.)  Kobach has a pretty clear path to the Republican nomination for Kansas Governor. For a lot of reasons, I don't see Kobach stepping out of that race. I have no special insider knowledge, but I have common sense.

Kobach is in the process of building a house--in Kansas. He has a wife and a lot of young daughters. I don't see them just picking up and moving to the swamp right now. There's also the not inconsequential Senate confirmation requirement. With Republicans like John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, I don't think Kobach's confirmation would be assured. Kobach isn't politically stupid. Why risk the damage when he can hang among his Kansas fans?

Kobach was in the Sunflower State all weekend. He stopped in at the Douglas County Republican Party picnic and gave his Governor campaign speech. 

The speculation about Kobach accepting a nomination to DHS is a whole lot of wishful thinking. Like the idea of a man giving birth, liberals in the media believe if they have enough feelings maybe they can make it so. Politico and the Washington Post and the Kansas City Star, are doing everything they can to capsize Kobach's gubernatorial run. The fact that they are giddy about the DHS nomination proves as much. 

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, 

Gidget

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.