Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): August 2017

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.