Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): State Senators Race for Leadership Roles

Thursday, August 18, 2016

State Senators Race for Leadership Roles

The race for Kansas Senate President is a bit of a slow-moving train wreck. 

Cars started publicly jumping the track back in February of this year. About that time, Susan Wagle, Senate President, removed Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook from the chairmanship of the Senate Health and Wellness Committee. Wagle says Pilcher-Cook violated Senate rules by adding an anti-Obamacare amendment to an unrelated bill. Pilcher-Cook says she was removed, because she refused to agree to a list of ultimatums like agreeing to support Wagle for Senate President this year.

Wagle and Sen. Terry Bruce were in a death match vying for future control of the Senate, and it spilled over into the primary elections. Wagle supported some so-called Republican moderate candidates, hoping to retain her spot in leadership. Bruce supported more conservative candidates in a quest for the top Senate job, perhaps to his detriment. He won't be returning to the Senate next year after losing his primary election in baffling fashion. (Stay tuned, however. Word on the street is Bruce may be back in some other role.)

This undertone of outright irritation at Wagle has been around for awhile. I have yet to fully understand why. Her detractors say she quietly supports Obamacare, (this appears to be true, though I can't find anywhere in which she's said that out loud) and that she actively recruited and supported so-called moderates in a quest for power over principle. 

In the not-so-distant past absolute fawning over Wagle from the very top and on down. Wagle is the first woman to hold the job as Senate president, and so everyone slobbered all over that. (Seriously, Kansas has elected women to Governor and to the U.S. Senate. When can we stop with the "firsts" celebrations?)  

With Bruce out of the way, Wagle may have thought she had a straight shot to the top job, but not so fast, my friend. There are now three people (that I know of) challenging for the Senate Presidency. The so-called moderate candidate, Sen. Jeff Longbine of Emporia, Sen. Ty Masterson of Andover, and Wagle of Wichita.

From where I'm standing, it doesn't appear any of the candidates have a clear path to the top job. Masterson is the most conservative of the three, and typically, that would be my personal preference, but I think that's a long shot. AND I wouldn't want my name on much of anything that's likely to come from this next Senate. It's going to be ugly and whoever gets the top spot is going to have to make some truly awful compromises. Compromise isn't ALWAYS a bad word, but we're not talking Chess. These compromises will likely require huge affronts to principle. No thanks!

That said, Wagle and Longbine are angling for the same constituency-- mostly, so-called mods. (I think Wagle will have the votes of some conservatives.) And Wagle and Masterson are from the same geographic area, which may prove further problematic for Wagle. I wish there was a Johnson County alternative, preferably a conservative one. I have some thoughts, but I'll spare them. Word on the street is that Sen. Jim Denning will run for Senate Majority Leader, so Johnson County will have someone in Senate leadership. I don't know that he has a challenger. 

I'm not sure why anyone would want the job of Senate President this year--other than a so-called moderate bent on ripping hundreds more dollars per year out of the wallets of Kansans like me. I think Wagle wants the gig, because she hopes to use it as a spring board to bigger things. Word on the street is that she wants Congressman Mike Pompeo's job. I have no idea what motivated Masterson to seek the Senate Presidency. 

If we can't have a conservative in that job, I'd prefer someone who doesn't have higher political aspirations in that gig. But I don't have a vote, and neither do most of you, readers. The Senate selects its own leadership in secret ballot. Gross.

No comments:

Post a Comment