Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick Fil-A

I went there today. I'd love to post that on my Facebook page with a giant picture of their delicious chicken nuggets, but I don't want to offend anyone.

By the way, I don't think the founder of Chick Fil-A said anything shocking, hateful or bigoted. But I'm guessing most of the morons in my Facebook feed talking about "Bigoted Chicken" have no idea what the guy said or even where he said it.

And I'm just too tired to have the argument. So, I stopped by Chick Fil-A today to miss tomorrow's crowds. By the way, the Chick Fil-A in Olathe has no reason to be concerned about the "boycott." That place was nuts today.

Campaign finance reports are in

And, as always, the amount of money flowing to candidates and campaigns is shocking to me. Startling even.

In the majority of races, he with the most cash wins. At least, that's the conventional wisdom. Kansas Watchdog typically does a very thorough job of parsing through the reports as they become available. (The Watchdog website has changed, so I'm having trouble finding the information, but you can also check out the reports themselves online at the Kansas Ethics Commission or for a 140-word summary of many races, check out Kansas Watchdog's Twitter feed.)

I have yet to dig through the campaign finance reports, because a) I am helping with some campaigns and b) I have a life outside of this politics junk. BUT, I fully intend to spend some time with a calculator once this primary is over to truly determine how much needs to be spent per voter in order to draw a win.

A political consultant told me that in order to win a Kansas House primary this year, candidates should spend a minimum of $10,000. This seems insane to me considering the newly-drawn districts contain 22,700 people. That's 44 cents per man, woman and child in a House district. Remove Democrats, unregistered adults and children and we're talking about a candidate spending easily more than 50 cents per voter. And in reality, it's much, much more, because even all registered voters won't make it to the polls on Aug. 7.

Those racing for the Senate will spend quite a bit more. I anticipate about 7500-9000 voters in some of the sharply contested Senate races. I'm thinking Tim Owens vs. Jim Denning; Jeff Melcher vs. Pat Colloton; Charlotte O'Hara vs. Pat Apple.

As of July 26, Sen. Pat Apple has spent the most of the bunch -- clocking in expenditures of $60,872. This is crazy. That's nearly $7 per voter, assuming 9,000 people actually vote in the 37th District. (Side note: My aunt who lives in that district said she is receiving almost a postcard a day from Apple and one or two a week from O'Hara.)

O'Hara has spent $18,492 in this campaign, according to her report. That's a little more than $2.05 per voter assuming 9,000 people vote. ( I think it's obvious which of these two candidates is the fiscal conservative.)

Over in the 11th District, Colloton has outspent Jeff Melcher, but not by much. She's spent $44,805, or almost $5 per voter. ($4.98). Melcher has spent $40,909, or $4.55 per voter. (And I take that back about the TV commercials -- apparently Melcher has purchased $7,000-plus worth.)

In what I would call the headline race of Johnson County, Jim Denning has to date been outspent by incumbent Tim Owens. I'm shocked SHOCKED that these two bitter candidates haven't outspent everyone in the state, but like I've said before, I'm no insider. In the 8th District, Owens has spent $40,451, or about $4.50 per voter. Denning has spent $27,396, or about $3.04 per voter.

All of these figures, again, are per voter. Per vote, the numbers are even higher, because we can absolutely assume that no candidate will win every single vote cast.

Most pundits and reporters will spend the next few days trying to figure out who donated how much to whom. Very little of that information will be surprising. The "traditional" Republican PACs will have funneled large sums to the mods. The Kansas Chamber and conservative groups will have funneled money to the conservatives.

What will be more interesting to note when it's all over is, just how much does a candidate need to spend per voter to win in Kansas? And how much cash can be made up by grassroots door-to-door campaigns? Or can money simply buy an election?

I guess we'll find out on Aug. 7.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This JUST in...

This just in: The Democrats don't agree with Gov. Brownback (ever) but specifically, they don't like his tax-cutting budget.

In other news, Anderson Cooper is gay. Kim Kardashian is D-U-M dumb and Def Leppard really knows how to rock.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mo' dumber, Mo' dumber

I know. This blog is supposed to be about Kansas politics, and mostly it is.

But as I live in the eastern part of the state, it's difficult to ignore the behemoth of dumb to our east -- Missouri. And if the Show Me Staters were ever to get together and elect a Queen of Dumb...

Oh wait. They have. Her name is Claire McCaskill. Not that we need any additional evidence that her intelligence level is about one I.Q. point beneath a drum-playing monkey sidekick, but for good measure, Claire kicked the more dumb up a notch higher with this gem in the Atlantic:

One of my favorite columnists is Barbara Shelly, at the Kansas City Star. 
And there you have it. McCaskill is getting her political insight about the western half of the state from the Star's Barbara Shelly.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


I stumbled on this blog while doing a little research about Mark Gilstrap for the previous post.

Someone doesn't like Sen. Chris Steineger very much. For a liberal, Steineger seems like a pretty good and decent guy.

Nonetheless, this website, and especially the picture with Steineger with a black eye made me LOL.

Good stuff, Dems. Good stuff.

Gilstraps and Democrats

Another Kansas Democrat is joining the ranks of the Republican Party -- Mike Gilstrap of the 'Dotte. In his exit from the party of Jackasses, he joins his brother, Mark Gilstrap, who fled from the Democratic Party in 2008. (I think it was 2008.)

"Switching parties has been one of the more difficult decisions that I have had to make. I had always been a Democrat. My parents were Democrats. But this is not the same Democratic Party that they or I signed up for," Mike told the Wyandotte Daily News.

That's not really an endorsement of the Republican Party. It's more of an indictment of the Dems, but we'll take it.

Speaking of Gilstraps, I've been following the Republican primary between former Sen. Mark Gilstrap and Steve Fitzgerald closely.

And I'll say this, I'm really, really glad I won't have to cast a ballot in that particular slug fest.

I was just getting my feet wet with the Kansas Republican political machine when Mark Gilstrap abandoned the Democratic Party. And what a strange, weird exodus it was. From what little I know, Gilstrap was a sitting Democratic state senator when he decided to publicly endorse and serve as chair of a committee called "Democrats for Phill Kline" when Kline was running for Attorney General.

I loved Phill Kline. I voted for him every time he appeared on my ballot, but the Democrats and the so-called Moderates acted like Kline's election to statewide office would be paramount to a nuclear attack on Topeka. So I'm pretty sure the Democrats viewed Mark as a raving Benedict Arnold. As far as I know, Mark has always been pro-life, and that is unacceptable to Democrats and especially then-Gov. Sebelius -- who never met a fetus she thought should survive to childbirth.

After a liberal sliming, Mark lost a Democratic Primary to retain his Senate seat and promptly became a member of the Grand Ol' Party. I've seen him at dozens of events. He's quiet, unassuming and very, very humble. I really like him.

However, I believe his opponent in the Republican Primary this year, Steve Fitzgerald, is the more conservative of the two. I have a general distrust of those who switch parties -- especially when the switching appears not to have been the result of a conscience but the aftermath of a political fallout.

That said, I've met Steve Fitzgerald. And if you've read my Twitter profile page (find me at @gidgetisit) you know that I abhor pretentious asshats. And well, Steve Fitzgerald strikes me as, well, just that.

Fitzgerald sounds like a perfectly reasonable and decent man on his website. Same goes for Mark Gilstrap. I'm glad the voters of the 5th District get to pick their poison. I'm glad they have a choice. I won't be sorry to see either man win or either man lose.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Washington ages Kevin Yoder

Note the graying hair and compare to this video from his campaign.

Either he's allowing his hair to gray for "gravitas" or Washington is aging our young Congressman.

Egg on Kobach's face?

Will there be egg on Secretary of State Kris Kobach's face after Aug. 7?

I hope not, because I liked the reading from Kobach's crystal ball at a David Harvey fundraiser earlier this week. He predicts 25 of 40 state Senate seats will belong to conservatives next year.

That said, why make predictions when no one is asking?

If he's wrong, and I think the jury is still out, he's spent a smidge of political currency on political predictions.

Go to the fundraiser. Rattle cages in support of David Harvey, but leave the political predictions to the psychics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dumbest story of the day

Typically, I read so many politcal stories from simpleton, misinformed journalists that it's difficult to choose the dumbest. However, the Topeka Capital Journal raised the bar today and wrote one so silly it's worthy of mentioning.

You can read their "clarification" of a blogger's endorsement here.

Long story short, Rep. Joe Patton, a Topeka Republican, sent mailers to dozens of voters citing the online endorsement of a blogger on the newspaper's website. Apparently, the paper believes it must clarify that the blogger isn't actually a "paid" employee.

To that, I say, who cares?

The number of people who use endorsements to decide for whom to vote is miniscule. The number of people who use newspaper endorsements as a deciding factor -- even smaller.

All the Journal did with its little clarification story is give Joe Patton extra press. And as all PR hacks know, there's no such thing as bad press.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Everyone's weighing in...

For reasons that absolutely confound, people from outside of Kansas are weighing in (or at least reporting on) the political happenings in Kansas. (I'm not sure we want or need their attention. Yeah, I'm talking to you Bill Graves.)

Political outsiders (like ME!) are pitting the Republican primaries as CONSERVATIVES v. MODERATES. To some extent that's true, but there's so much more than that happening throughout the state. A writer for National Review believes the moderates are in trouble. The Wall Street Journal writes that the battle is on.

While I have the greatest respect for both publications, I find absolute fault with their attempts to handicap races in Kansas. I live here and am active in a few of them, and I don't have a CLUE how this all shakes out.

I hope they're right and that the mods are finally going to be put to pasture, but beyond a the noise blasting from a very few political junkies, I just don't see enough passion in any of these races to guarantee any outcomes.

Like No Other

The 2012 Kansas Republican Primary is turning out to be like no other, and the deep political thinkers, and armchair quarterbacks are having a near impossible time handicapping this election.

There are lots of new spices thrown into the KS GOP simmering pot in 2012.

First, and foremost, there was of course, redistricting, which drew dozens of incumbents into districts where they are forced to run against one another. Of course, some chose to move or run for different offices rather than compete against friends and allies. One of the crazier instances: TerriLois Gregory, moved from Baldwin City to Ottawa to avoid running against Eudora's Anthony Brown. Both conservative legislators were drawn into the 10th District.

Apparently, both Brown and Gregory decided to fall on their swords for one another, because when the dust settled after redistricting, Brown decided to run for the Senate against incumbent Dem. Tom Holland. And Gregory chose to move to Ottawa (OTTAWA!!!) to run for the House in the 59th District.

Party insiders are pessimistic about the chances of both candidates. Holland is fairly popular incumbent. And Gregory is being painted as a carpet bagger in a fierce primary against a hometown Ottawa attorney, Blaine Finch.

In the meantime, there is only one GOP candidate in the seat Brown and Gregory abandoned -- Erica Anderson of Baldwin City. Anderson will face Democrat John Wilson, Lawrence, in the general election.

Will the seat remain in Republican hands? That's tough to say now that no incumbents are in the mix. But that's the story across much of the eastern part of the state.

No one knows exactly what to expect. There will be no big names on the ballot in Johnson County -- no Governor's race to drum up crowds, no Congressional fights -- Yoder is running unopposed. Add the confusion of redistricting to the mix, and only one countywide race snoozefest of a sheriff's race, and officials are anticipating stunningly low turnout for the August primary.

The Johnson County Election Commissioner, Brian Newby, is preparing for 25 percent turnout, but I think it will be a miracle if even that many registered voters head to the polls.

All that means is that the outcome of any race is really any man's guess. 

Democrat John Wilson of Lawrence and Republican Erica Anderson of Baldwin City will face off in the 10th House District race.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

KFL marginalizes itself

Add Kansans for Life (KFL) to the pile of groups that were once principled but now make decisions based on maintaining a death grip on political power. This is, sadly, the evolution of most political organizations.

They start with principles but once in power, toss them in the dustbin in order to maintain power. The Kansas political landscape is littered with such groups, and I fully expect Kansans for Life to become a small organization banished to the outskirts of the political scene.

There was a time when I took KFL’s candidate endorsements into the ballot box with me, but I’ve relied on the “expertise” of KFL’s board members less and less over the years as it was becoming increasingly obvious that the pro-life issue was no longer the group’s sole focus.

My disillusion with the group peaked during the 2010 primary election. That year Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt engaged in a heated battle to replace Gov. Brownback in the U.S. Senate. KFL wasted no time endorsing Tiahrt – even going so far as to not allow Moran buttons, t-shirts or campaign staff at its annual breakfast. (At least, that’s what I’ve heard through the political grapevine. I was unable to attend the breakfast that year.) The raging activism on behalf of Tiahrt was surprising considering Moran also boasted a pro-life voting record.

A truly principled group would not endorse at all, except to mention that both candidates have pro-life voting records. But that’s not what happened. Republicans almost ripped each other to shreds over that race as both men are and remain very popular, and pro-life activism has suffered because of it.

Moran is now a U.S. Senator, but what do you want to bet he never goes out of his way to assist KFL or its national counterpart in the future? Moran appears to be pro-life, not because of KFL, but despite them. I’m certain he will continue to vote pro-life, because that’s his conscience – but help KFL? I doubt it.
That election damaged the organization’s credibility with its individual members, I’m certain. Now it’s so bad even the mainstream media  is beginning to notice.

I understand that redistricting made KFL’s endorsement decisions more difficult than usual. There are so many races in which incumbents are facing other incumbents and in which district numbers and boundaries changed so dramatically. And that’s the excuse the group is using.

David Gittrich, a KFL bigwig from the Wichita area told the Topeka Capital Journal that it was “chaos.”
“It was difficult with several incumbents who we like being in the same races,” Gittrich said.

So how to explain the group’s decision in a variety of races to choose one pro-life candidate over another? If the group’s stated goal is the election of pro-life candidates and the passage of pro-life legislation, why choose one candidate over another?
Trent LeDoux, a pro-life representative from the Manhattan-area, said it best in the TCJ story.

“Either endorse them both, or stay out of it,” he said. “Kansans for Life has marginalized themselves. But my commitment to the pro-life cause is not going to be weakened at all.”

Sadly, the races mentioned in the Topeka article are only a few of many where KFL will likely end up with egg on its face. In a race in the Wichita area, they endorsed one pro-life candidate over another, because one candidate listed his fiance's address as his home address after the redistricting snafu. I'm told that the candidate was told that KFL didn't like that he was "living in sin." The group was apparently willing to overlook the fact that the other candidate in that race has naked pictures of himself on Facebook.

First, "sin" isn't KFL's issue. "Life" is. And if "sin" truly is a concern of the group, someone please explain to me why the group endorsed a candidate in southeastern Kansas who actively promotes same-sex marriage on social media.

 I have a theory: This is nothing but an attempt to exert KFL's power. The politicos who suck up to Mary Kay Culp and David Gittrich the most were awarded with an endorsement. Voting pro-life apparently isn’t good enough any more. Greasing the backsides of certain people matters more.

Here’s hoping more politicians and voters figure out that KFL only has power if it’s granted to them from the people. People, who I might add, will continue to be pro-life with or without the assistance of KFL. Who needs a group of political hacks when science is beginning to agree with what Christians have known all along – life is precious and deserves protection. We don’t need KFL to tell us that.

And we, the people, don't need KFL to advocate on behalf of life. The people built KFL into the monster it is today, and we can take it down just as easily by giving our donations of time and money to the pro-life candidates of our choice rather than waiting for KFL's approval.

I long for the day when abortion lands on the dust heap of history along with slavery and other great evils. And when it does, it won't be because of KFL's efforts, it will be despite them. Because what they say the advocate for and what their leadership actually advocates for appear to be two different things. And in the pro-life movement, power should never trump principle.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brownback's admission

Well, well, well. Gov. Brownback has decided to admit that he is in fact involved in primary elections.

I can't decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Mostly, I think it's despicable that he lied about his intentions in the first place. The Governor has every right to jump into the primary elections. In fact, he should loudly and proudly proclaim the candidates he likes and endorses.

But don't lie about it. Don't say you're going to do one thing -- stay out of the primaries -- and then do another. That's the kind of behavior that gives politicians a bad name.

Of course, Brownback never actually stayed out of the primaries. He's been working behind the scenes for months -- also gross. But at least now he's moved out of the proverbial back alley and now is voicing his support in broad daylight.

"Because of the alliance in the state senate between Democrats and some Republicans that join together to promote a Democrat agenda, the primary has effectively become the general. Therefore, I am going to be involved in a limited number of primaries," the Governor told the Topeka Capital Journal.

Now the only thing left for the Governor to do is admit his involvement isn't limited to a few select races. His dirty hands are all over every race across the state. At one point, I would've called Brownback's hands clean, but not today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stick your hand back in your pockets, state BOE members

To the average outsider, or even to the typical Jersey-Shore watching general public, it appears that Kansas is a hot bed of the conservative movement. It’s easy to see why some might get that idea. Kansas boasts the most conservative Congressional delegation and six of six state office holders of the Republican persuasion.
But in a quiet little corner of the political Kansas atmosphere, perhaps the most powerful legislative body in the state is filled with screaming liberals – or at least Big Government, Big Spenders. Already the state spends more than 50 percent of its budget on this governing bodies’ area of oversight.
And yet, it’s not enough.
The bloodsuckers known as the Kansas State Board of Education will not be satisfied until every last dime of state revenue is poured into public schools. Forget paying for roads, public safety or any other possible priority of the state. School administrators are barely scraping by on their six-figure taxpayer-funded salaries. It’s for the children.
Yesterday, the mosquitoes on the state approved a request to seek $450 million additional in state funds for public schools in 2014.
I don’t know how the finances look from high atop a perch in Topeka, but here in “wealthy” Johnson County, my money isn’t going as far. I don’t have an extra two nickels left over each month to stick in my savings account let alone send off to the 6-6-6 so my local district can receive 3 cents of the 10 I sent the capitol.
According to an article in the Kansas City Star, the additional funds identify special education funding and increasing money for teachers’ professional development.
I could possibly get on board with special education funding. Possibly. But no one will ever convince me that spending more for teacher development pays dividends in the classroom. Half of the teachers I know have Master’s Degrees and yet they fail in simple logic when you explain that taxpayers are broke and that by taxing everyone out of existence the schools are slowing killing the geese that lay the golden eggs – you know, businesses that hire people.
Plus, I swear those teacher enrichment programs are nothing but teacher union indoctrination courses that teach how to more effectively whine and manipulate the general public into believing teachers are poorer than church mice.
The last time I checked the average teacher salary in my district was higher than the average salary of those in the U.S. and of those in my district.
Besides, I’ve seen where extra funding for education goes – many times it’s right into the pockets of administrators who take their cut off the top. And there’s no indication that the money that does reach the classroom equates to better educational outcomes.
In light of these simple, simple facts,  you’d think the state board of education – which is comprised of four Democrats and six Republicans – would spend its meetings considering plans (ahem. School vouchers) that would improve the quality of Kansas education.
Instead, they simply stick out their hands and ask for more cash.
Voters deserve the brunt of the blame, of course. Can you, active political reader, name your state board of education representative?
It’s time conservative activists pay better attention to the great rip-off artists running our public schools. That starts at the local level, where it’s very difficult to get conservative board members elected.
There’s room for improvement at the state level as well. Seven members voted to approve the request for an insane amount of additional funds. They should be targeted when they're up for re-election.
In Johnson County, Republicans and conservatives should run, not walk to the polls to elect Steve Roberts to represent District 2 on the state board of education. Because state board races aren’t well covered by the media – or anywhere that I can find that isn’t an arm of the liberal and extreme Kansas National Association of Educators – it’s difficult to say just how conservative Roberts is. But I can virtually guarantee he’s more fiscally conservative than his opponent. It's a start.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Governor Brownback should play it smart

Gov. Sam Brownback has a list of legislators he wants to see victorious in the Republican primary on Aug. 7 and they’re not necessarily the most conservative in each race. They are, however, the most likely to follow the party line with little regard for principle.
Case in point: Charlotte O’Hara.
The establishment hates her – in part, because she can’t just pick one issue. It seems there’s some unwritten rule that allows a legislator to break with the governor one time, but more than that and you will be branded with a scarlet letter.
O’Hara editorialized against STAR bonds to her constituents. She rattled cages against accepting federal money to set up health exchanges. She voted against funding for insurance with autism. And breaking with the governor is a state offense – probably soon to make one eligible for the death penalty.
She faces Sen. Pat Apple in a heated battle for the 37th District Senate seat as well as what I’ve heard is a very nice man from Paola named Daniel Campbell. Judging from his answers to the Americans for Prosperity-Kansas questionnaire, at the very least, he’s a fiscal conservative.
The newly created district, which aren’t they all -- covers part of Miami county and a southern part of Johnson County. I don’t know the area well enough to handicap the race. (Does anyone in Johnson County EVER go to Miami County? Don't answer that. It's rheotorical.)
Apple seems like a really nice guy, but also kind of like a squish who will go along to get along. If you look at his entire record, it really does appear he's blowing in the political winds. Apple isn’t exactly the incumbent due to the redrawing of lines, and O’Hara has never been elected to the Legislature. She replaced Ray Merrick in the Kansas House when he moved up to the Senate.
(Now Merrick is running for the House again in the hopes of being Speaker. And to my conspiracy-theorist mind, his change of heart for the House is all a big shell game to get O’Hara out of Topeka, though I’ve heard Merrick has endorsed her.)
There are a few House races where you’ll see Brownback stepping in to declare his public support. One example is Brett Hildebrand’s race. In the 17th District in Shawnee and Lenexa, Hildebrand faces a primary opponent named Jason Lieb. Judging from his website, he’s your basic Republican in Name Only. Nonetheless, he is a Republican, and when the day is over, we’re all supposed to be on the same team. Hildebrand isn’t exactly an incumbent in the race – he moved into the newly-drawn district the day after judges released Kansas’ reapportionment maps. Lieb is relatively a political unknown and could be more conservative than Abraham Lincoln crossed with Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson, but Brownback hosted a fundraiser for Hildebrand loudly declaring his choice candidate. (And though, I agree with his choice in the race…)
In other races, quietly behind the scenes, Brownback’s people are triangulating to insure that the most easily led are put into office.
The governor should just come out and say who he supports and why. Instead, he uses a handful of minions, specifically at the KansasChamber PAC and other places to do his bidding. This is not just a Democratic talking point. I firmly believe it is the absolute truth. They aren’t colluding in the formal sense – as in business luncheons to address a strategy, but members of the Governor’s staff are as good as anyone at finding the “right” person to tell the Governor’s thoughts and concerns. Those “right” people have no problem passing along the information to say, Jeff Glendening at the Chamber.
It’s not exactly Politics 101, but a graduate-level political science course it ain’t.
I believe I am on record here saying just how terrifically important I believe having a conservative Senate will be in the next few years, but if he was wise, the Governor would absolutely STAY OUT of all primary races.
That said, there are moderates (I’d call them RINOs) in a number of races across the state. Some of them may actually win. And as badly as Brownback wants his own handpicked sheeple in the legislature, he may have to work with RINOs next year.
As a wise man once said to me, what if they win? Mark my words (sadly) some of them will. And some of the conservatives, like O’Hara who aren’t in Brownback’s back pocket, will likely take some races as well.
When that happens, Brownback and his people will have no choice but to try and work with them. I promise it would be easier to do had the Govenor stayed out  – and by staying out of the races, I mean, STAYING OUT – not having your legislative assistants running their mouths across the state triangulating for Brownback’s choices. Their efforts are transparent to anyone who has ever donned a campaign t-shirt and walked a neighborhood.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Home of the Brave

Courage looks good on this woman.

No, not Lady Locks on the right. The other one. In the blue dress. That's Brad Pitt's mom, Jane Pitt. She wrote a scathing letter to a local newspaper in Springfield, Missouri, ripping President Obama. In it she urged Christians not to withhold their votes from Romney simply because he's a Mormon.

"Any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon," she writes.

Because she is the mother of a big star, it was bound to get extra attention. And she'll have to deal with negative press and lefty crazies because she chose to be outspoken. (Update: here are some of the lovely Twitter comments about her via Twitchy.)

In this space, I will occasionally laud courageous acts of free speech, because it seems to be less popular everyday to speak your mind.

To Jane Pitt -- the Mouth of the Month Award.

Brad obviously put his testicles in Homewrecker Angelina's purse for safe keeping, but it appears in his absence his mom has grown a pair.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Proof I'm no insider

I know a lot of activists and party honchos in the Kansas GOP, but here's one thing I know nothing about: Hurricane Morgan/Kobach/McMillan/Rojas.

For the last several years, the Kansas Republican Party has been under investigation by the Federal Elections Commission for violations that occurred while Kris Kobach was chair of the state GOP. At the time, Christian Morgan was executive director.

The Topeka Capitol Journal writes, "FEC investigators pored over state GOP financial records for months before determining extent of mismanagement during the election cycle in 2007 and 2008. The party was led at that time by Kris Kobach, who served as chairman of the party, and Christian Morgan, who was the party's executive director. Kobach was subsequently elected Kansas secretary of state."

I have zero clue as to what went down and who is to blame, but the role of executive director has cycled through a handful of people since the infamous shake-up of Kobach and Morgan. Amanda Adkins now chairs the party (ahem. Brownback's handmaiden.) And Clay Barker currently serves as executive director.

He replaced Cici Rojas -- who had the role for about 10 seconds. And she replaced Ashley McMillan. (Or maybe that's vice versa. I can't remember.)

Either way, it says something about the organization when its employees are running like rats from a sinking ship as was the case between the directorship of Morgan and Barker.

Barker has served in the role for a few years now, I think, so one can assume the ship is at least halfway stable at the moment. However, Morgan and Kobach detest each other with a passion that burns like a Death Valley fireworks display. I'd like to know more about that pair's falling out, but I'm pretty sure that's not information I'll ever be privy to.

I'd also love to know what exactly happened with Rojas and with McMillan. I'm not in deep enough to know, sadly. That said, I think the state party would do well to divulge everything it knows and everything has done in the aftermath.

As sure as I type, the KS GOP is trying to fundraise, and from what I hear from long-time donors, many are withdrawing support from the state party and giving instead to individual candidates. This has always made more sense than donating to the parties anyway, but the state party can't survive on wine and cheese alone.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Frank Denning is NOT a Sacred Cow

I'm not knocking Johnson County's Sheriff. Truly, I'm not. Frank Denning is a nice guy and under his tutelage, Johnson County has continued to be a safe place to live and work.

But let's not for a moment pretend that's all the Sheriff's doing. This is, after all, Johnson County. We're prosperous. We're in Kansas, and criminals are in short supply.

And now, I'm running from my point, which is this: Sheriff Denning has an opponent. This is a good thing for democracy, for the Republican Party, and for voters.

But whenever the other candidate's name is mentioned -- you can practically see Republicans mentally screaming from the room. BTW, I believe the Sheriff's opponent is named Ken Smith. I've never met him, but I've read his website. He seems like a good conservative guy.

However, from what I've seen and heard, this poor candidate is persona non grata in Republican circles, because Frank Denning is the brother of Jim Denning, a Johnson County Republican Party mover and shaker.

Jim, who is a sitting state representative, is running against Tim Owens, perhaps the most reviled RINO in Johnson County, for a seat in the state Senate. Party insiders and even many average Kansas voters know how critical it is that conservatives win the state Senate, so virtually every Republican activist in the county is sinking funding and volunteering time to ensure that Jim Denning is successful in the Republican primary this August. If I wasn't knee deep in other things this summer, I'd be walking door-to-door for Jim or one of the other handful of Johnson County (quasi) conservatives attempting to oust Senate RINOs. It's that important.

To sweeten the Denning pot, Jim's wife, Marearl, is the Secretary of the Johnson County Republican Party. You can't swing an elbow in the county party headquarters without hitting a Denning -- typically Marearl. She's sweet and helpful, but that doesn't mean members of the party shouldn't have an honest discussion about her brother-in-law, the Sheriff.

But, because politics, like everything else, is who you know rather than what you know, Ken Smith is a name that must be whispered behind closed doors or in dark alleyways.

And I'll be honest. In the sheriff's race, I'm not sure whether I'll vote for Smith of for Denning. But it's unfortunate I feel like I can't even take a look at the other candidate without raising the ire of everyone else in the Republican Party. We're a bigger tent party in some ways than I'd like considering all the RINOs wearing elephant pins, but in other ways, the party tent seems too small to hold people who don't have the last name "Denning."