Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Playing Defense in the KS House

Friday, August 5, 2016

Playing Defense in the KS House

Conservatives are going to need to play incredible defense this fall. Now is NOT the time to roll around on the field pretending to be injured while time drains from the clock. Unlike soccer, there are no ties in politics, and the Dems are likely to be energized by Tuesday's results.

For some insane reason, the Kansas Dems publicly announced its list of targets in the Kansas House. They made this announcement at the Kansas Dem Convention Hippy Drum Circle back in April. Rep. Tom Burroughs announced 15 targets, 9 of which he considered top-tier races and 6 he considered less likely, but still possible blue turners. (The public announcement of this list and the fact that one supposed top-tier target is running unopposed makes me think this may be some long con by the Dems, so caveat emptor and all that!)

Here's Burroughs' top tier 9 targets:

Smith faces Monica Murnan, DEMOCRAT, a member of the Pittsurg City Commission and the director of student support services at the Southeast Kansas Education Service. She looks good on paper and it appears she's been door knocking.

Grosserode faces Cindy Holscher. Holscher, DEMOCRAT, works in marketing and is on the PTA. While the candidate isn't all that impressive on paper, Grosserode's district is very purple. 

Jenkins is a member of the Shawnee Planning Commission, retired Army Colonel, and small businessman vying for the seat vacated by Rep. John Rubin. He faces perpetual DEMOCRAT candidate and former Democrat and Republican House member Cindy Neighbor. At the moment, she is a member of the Shawnee Mission School Board. It should be noted that the Shawnee Board of Education recently reached an impasse with teachers on providing salary and benefit increases while simultaneously granting the district administrators raises of up to 15 percent. 

Todd faces Brett Parker. Parker is an English teacher in Olathe, and a member of the KNEA. (So, he supports abortion.) 

Barton faces Jeff Pittman. His website is a giant picture of his head. It's creepy. Pittman is a DEMOCRAT who, with apparently a straight face, says he has traditional family values. He's a combat veteran (as is almost everyone in Leavenworth). His resume is weird. He went to MIT and Oxford, but it looks like his work primarily involves part-time minimum wage jobs like painting houses, and working at the GAP. He may look good on paper, but his website appears to have been written by someone who recently graduated from the Michael Scott School of Website Writing.

This is a repeat of the 2014 election in this district. In 2014, Virgil Weigel was the DEMOCRAT incumbent, and he was tossed from office by Hemsley in a very, very tight election. Hemsley won by a mere 40 votes, 3,978 for Hemsley versus 3,938 for Weigel.

Scapa faces Elizabeth Bishop. She worked for former Democartic Congressman Dan Glickman, and then she had a bunch of government jobs. She likes gardening and has a passion for saving trees. 

  • Steve Anthimides, Wichita
Anthimides faces a Steven Crum. Crum actually is coming off a Democratic primary win in which he defeated Justin Kraemer, a former "news" anchor who got canned for saying the "F" word into a hot mic. Crum squeaked past his primary opponent winning 24 more votes, 262 to 238. So, how many Democrats are there in that district? Not many, but last term was Anthimides' first. This is a rematch from 2014. Anthimides beat Crum by a mere 129 votes in 2014. Crum is a member of the Haysville City Council. (I can't find a link to the Anthimides website. Um. Get on it, sir.)

  • Jan Pauls, Hutchinson
Pauls used to be a Democrat--I actually can't figure out why, but she did. And since hell hath no fury like a Democrat Party scorned, Pauls will probably be on their hit list for the rest of her life. Pauls faces Patsy Terrell, DEMOCRAT. Terrell hails from Kentucky and is self-employed as a writer, social media facilitator and PR person. On paper, she doesn't appear to be a very good candidate, but Hutchinson recently delivered a pretty big comeuppance to Sen. Terry Bruce, so anything is possible. (I also cannot find Pauls' website. This is a blunder.)

  • Mike Houser, Columbus
Um. I can't find that he has an opponent. So, if the Dems still intend to seriously target and challenge this seat, they've got some serious write-in campaign planned. Odd. 

Their list of second-tier targeted candidates looks like some long shots. Here's the list of second-tier Dem targets:

Davis' opponent doesn't seem like a loon, so maybe that's one reason the Democrats are opting to target this district. There are far more Republicans than Democrats in that district. Before the primary there were 5,100 Republicans, 3,200 Dems, and 4,200 Republicans. Davis' campaign was a bright spot on Tuesday. With two primary opponents, she earned 65 percent of the vote. She won her 2014 race by more than 1,200 votes, though her district was a bit schizophrenic that year. Brownback beat Paul Davis by 240ish votes. Yoder slaughtered Kelly Kutula by 1,600 votes and Roberts squeaked past Greg Orman by less than 100 votes. Davis' Democrat opponent, Paul McCorkle, is a teacher across the border in Raymore. 

  • Brett Hildabrand, Shawnee
Remember, this list was drafted clear back in April. Sadly, Hildabrand lost to Tom Cox in the primary. Will Dems still target Cox since Cox's list of issues is virtually identical to the Dems' list? Cox's Dem opponent is a banker, who now works at Johnson County Community College. Doing what? She doesn't say. Her website doesn't show up in the front page of Google search, leading me to believe she's not all that serious.

Bradford faces Debbie Deere. She runs a daycare and calls herself a moderate. She serves on the Lansing School Board, so chances are good she's been fully indoctrinated. 

Corbet faces Renae Hansen. She is running FOR THE CHILDREN. She offers virtually no information about herself or her experience on her website. It is potentially the most vague candidacy since "Hope and Change." 

Claeys faces Gerrett Morris, DEMOCRAT. Morris ran against Sen. Tom Arpke in 2010 and lost by more than 1,600 votes. His webpage is mostly blank. LinkedIn says he owns a coffee shop and bookstore. I'll be honest--that's an awesome gig. That said, how serious can the guy be if he hasn't even bothered to set up his webpage? Not very.

These House candidates will need your help between now and November. You can do that in a number of ways: First, please let them know if you're willing to walk and carry literature for these campaigns. Shoot them an email today asking for a yard sign. Second, donate. The links provided go to sites where you can donate money. Even $10 makes a difference.


  1. Don't you think they'll target Willie Dove in District#38? Or did they waste everything they're going to in the primary? He took 51% in a three way race. So, it may not be that inviting for them.

  2. Tony Barton has a really good team and being a diversity candidate in Leavenworth City will erode some of the traditional Democrat support. Tony's not a whole lot more conservative than Melanie Meier and she won the primaries and carried the district as that truly rare bird a conservative Democrat. I think the dollars and effort expended by Mainstream and KNEA will depend on whether they are convinced Pittman has a realistic chance to unseat.