Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Poor Lynn

How embarrassing for Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. As a member of party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives she now constantly finds herself standing next to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

I'm not sure standing next to that jelly-spined Boehner as he helps the Democrats throw even more taxpayer money off the fiscal cliff is good for her career.

I pretty much only have to look at Boehner's spray tan to know that he's going to cave to the Democrats on the ongoing fiscal mess. Anyone who is so concerned with image that they'll spend thousands of dollars and hours of time to make their skin look that ridiculous color of orange is going to be too worried about the Democrats and media saying something bad about them to do the right thing.

Stand back, Lynn and duck out of those photo opportunities. I don't see how sitting next to that guy as he drives off the fiscal cliff gets you anywhere but on fire at the bottom of a precipice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As expected, it's Sciolaro

As  anticipated, Vicki Sciolaro will chair the Third District Republican Party. Gavin Ellzey will take be second-in-command. Arlene Krings will serve as Secretary and Shawn Shipp is treasurer. All candidates were elected via acclimation.

All told, there were more people at this re-organization meeting than I expected. It was a fairly packed house. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer gave speeches and did some schmoozing, but it was otherwise largely uneventful. It was far less painful than the county party re-organization which dragged on for what seemed like a lifetime.

The Johnson County Republican Party released a list of delegates to the state committee this afternoon, so you've probably already seen this, but just in case:

This list is interesting for a variety of reasons, but I don't have the time right now to get into it. Stay tuned. Mostly, the list strikes me as slightly more conservative than in previous years. I think that's a good thing, but there are what I would call a few Todd Akin-types on here.

I have nothing against Todd Akin, but that guy's ability to talk to the issues in ways that didn't make most people shudder was legendary. There are several of that ilk on this list. I can't go much further into it without giving myself away, trust me, they're here.

And now I've laid down a marker so I can later say, See!

Third District State Delegates
alpha order
(Johnson County)
Chad Bettes
Bill Biollot
Mike Brown
Mary Kay Culp
Cynthia Daugherty
Jim Denning
Marearl Denning
Gavin Ellzey
Tim Golba
Beverly Gossage
Amanda Grosserode
Nancy Hanahan
Lloyd Hanahan
Karl Hansen
Leah Herron
Barbara Kriegshauser
John Dennis Kriegshauser
Arlene Krings
David Lightner
Earl Long
Michael McGovern
Ronnie Metsker
Susan Metsker
Kay O'Connor
Mike Pirner
Alex Poulter
Doris Riley
John Ruben
Leslie Schmidt
Charles Sciolaro
Vicki Sciolaro
Stephen Shute
Greg Smith
Missy Smith
Yvonne Starks
John Toplikar
(Miami County)
Jack Burcham
(Wyandotte County)
Thomas Barnes
Patricia Stoneking

Third District Alternate Delegates
alpha order
(Johnson County)
Nancy Beverage
Shenon Bone
Marla Brems
Kimberly Brown
Dale Chaffee
Shawn Cowing
Greg Cromer
Robyn Essex
Robert Gossage
Alice Hansen
Anne Hodgdon
Brandon Kenig
Maryteresa Kissell
Gary Krings
Patricia Lightner
Michele Lockwood
Craig McPherson
Michael Moore
Barbara Oakes
Mark Rinke
Roberta Rubin
Rachel Sciolaro
Lynsey Sciolaro
David Seldner
Stephen Sipp
Ken Smith
Linda Steinbrink
Chad Tenpenny
Thomas Treacy
Mary Ann Waldenmeyer
Carl Walston
Edna Wheeler
Larry Wolf
Milton Wolf
(Miami County)
David Miller
(Wyandotte County)
Shawn Shipp
Joe Ward

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Coronation Tonight?

Third District Delegates will elect delegates to the state GOP committee tonight.

I've heard very, very little about what will go down at tonight's gathering.

What I do know:

There will be at least two separate slates of delegates. As is typical, there will likely be crossover -- some individuals will make it onto both slates.

As for leadership, I only know of one slate -- that of Vicki Sciolaro and Gavin Ellzey.

The state committee assists in penning the state party's platform. I'm going to be repetitive, but I'll say these things again in hopes that maybe, just maybe, tonight's voters will take these things into consideration.

Candidates for all offices and delegates who are not already public officials should be given preference over those who already serve in public office. I personally believe the Republican Party should be a bottom-up party and not the other way around. Gov. Sam Brownback et. all should not be writing the platform. He should represent the platform as it is written by members of the party. Of course, his input, as well of the input of other elected officials, should be considered. (And ideally, we should all be on the same page, but realistically, there is room for discussion and disagreement on certain points.)

Candidates who will actually attend the state committee meetings should also be given preference. It's bizarre the number of people who end up on these slates and as delegates who rarely bother to show. As it's done today, I'm not sure there's anyway to account for who shows but voters tonight, it is something you should consider as you cast a ballot tonight.

Tonight's delegates will assist in electing new statewide party leadership. To date, I only know of one slate, but that could change. Those elected tonight will determine how partywide leadership shakes out. Will it be Kelly Arnold and friends or someone else.

P.S. If you know of another slate running for statewide leadership or for Third District leadership and would like to send me a message, feel free to private message me on Twitter, email me, or leave an anonymous comment.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Redistricting 2.0 -- This Time it's Even More Dumber

So this seems like a terrible idea.

Senate President Susan Wagle is open to attempting to redistrict the Kansas Legislature. The state is required to redistrict every 10 years two years after the decennial U.S. Census. They of course failed in 2012, and the courts did the job for them.

Redistricting was delayed and messy, and the Republicans still won in a landslide, despite district lines that I thought (wrongly, it appears) favored less-than-conservatives. The lines aren't perfect, and I'm not particularly happy with my own district.

It is unclear whether the legislature is legally able to redistrict more often than prescribed. It shouldn't be tested. This is Pandora's Box.

Right now, it seems like a grand idea -- conservatives swept the state of Kansas like a Colorado wildfire in July. BUT that may not always be the case. Less than six years ago, almost every statewide administrative office was held by a Democrat.

If in the future there is some anomaly that sees the Democrats take a majority of the state legislature, do we want them redistricting in an off year just to give themselves an added push down the road? The answer is no.

And let's not forget what people in power tend to do with power: Abuse it. I can see a future in which every legislature redistricts just to shore up their power. Why run in a district that is +7 Republican when you can redraw the lines to give yourself an even greater advantage in two years?

I am not impressed with this discussion and if members of the Legislature have one single wit amongst them, they will shut it down quickly. 

Bob Dole in a wheelchair

Just because Bob Dole advocates for something, that doesn't mean it's right or that it can't be questioned. Or that the opposition is extreme. And the fact that he's in a wheelchair doesn't mean his support of an issue deserves additional credence.

I do not know why this is so, so tricky to understand. But this is the world we live in. If someone has a sob story, we're supposed to just fall to our knees and agree with them. A cancer patient thinks the government should raise a sales tax solely for the purpose of cancer research? Well, if you oppose that on the the grounds of, and I'm just spitballing here, that cancer research really isn't the appropriate role of the government, you really just hate people with cancer and hope they die.

The vicious, stupid memes I've seen today in my Facebook feed, tell me that a whole lot of people deserve a sharp slap with a wet fish.

Here are a few reasons why not approving the U.N. Treaty on disability rights was the correct decision:

1. The treaty did not include a definition of "disabled." This means the term would be defined by a bunch of U.N. bureaucrats at a later date. These are the same fools who regularly call Israel a "terrorist nation" for having the gall to protect itself. We can't trust their judgment.

2. The treaty declares that the state is in charge of determining what is in the "best interests of the disabled child." Because that's worked sooooo well here with IEPs. (Ask the parent of a disabled child in the public schools how those IEPs are working out for them.) Now, instead of having some local person who you can sit across the table of in charge of the welfare of your child, you get some U.N. bureaucrat who may not even understand your culture making the decisions. This sounds like a real bang-up plan.

3. Speaking of cultures, one section of the treaty involves the "economic, social and cultural rights" of the disabled. I shudder to think what "social and cultural" rights even means.

4. The U.S. is already the worldwide leader in rights of the disabled, and this treaty does not bring other nations up to our standards. It just gives other nations a say in what we do. No thanks.

These are just a few of the concerns with the treaty. But there are also fiscal concerns. The treaty has some financial obligations that again, will do NOTHING to benefit any person in the U.S. -- except I guess the lucky chosen few who get to travel to Geneva once a year for a "conference" on the topic.

I apologize for the ranting nature of this post. It's here, because I just know the people blasting the Republicans for not falling to their knees in the presence of Kansas' Bob Dole have not read one single thing about what's in the actual treaty. Their knowledge is based solely on the fact that a man in a wheelchair advocated for it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Give Huelskamp a medal

Don't believe the rumors the mainstream media are spreading about Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp.

He was dropped from the House Budget Committee today by U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner. And local media is prepping to tarnish Huelskamp as a crazy zealot who isn't a team player.

Huelskamp should wear that like a badge of honor. The very last thing the U.S. Congress needs is more "team players."

That is code language for the unprincipled.

I don't know Huelskamp, but I have a great respect for him. Because he isn't afraid to speak the truth -- even at tremendous personal cost -- we should be prepared to stand behind him. Here's what Newsmax had to say about Huelskamp's unceremonious dumping.

Here's what the Congressman had to say:

"It is little wonder why Congress has a 16 percent approval rating: Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return," Congressman Huelskamp said. "The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement."
"I am not at all ashamed of any of the principled, conservative stances I took in the past two years, including:
  • "Efforts to hold Republicans to the "Pledge to America" – a promise Washington Republican leadership made before I was even elected – to cut $100 billion in 2011 and to restore transparency and openness in the legislative process;
  • "Voting against and publicly criticizing the 2011 debt limit increase that lacked substantial limits on Washington's spending and borrowing powers – a bill that failed to avert the nation's credit rating downgrade - and led to the current "fiscal cliff;"
  • "Attempting to curb the explosion in food stamp spending and other entitlements;
  • "Ending handouts to big business;
  • "Refusing to withdraw key pro-marriage and pro-life amendments when requested by members of the GOP leadership; and
  • "Just recently issuing a public challenge to all 238 GOP colleagues, including every member of Leadership, to reaffirm their pledges to oppose tax increases."
"Kansans who sent me to Washington did so to change the way things are done – not to provide cover for Establishment Republicans who only give lip service to conservative principles. If the rest of America is anything like the 700,000 Kansans I represent, then they know that the fiscal and cultural crises facing our nation require drastic changes to the way things are done in Washington – not just symbolic gestures or more of the same."

The Noobs

 Although not yet sworn-in, the members of the 2013 Kansas Legislature started swinging for the fences yesterday. (I apologize for not getting to this sooner, but time waits for no man. Not even Gidget, and Gidget was super, super busy with all the Topeka happenings and what not.)

As you're all aware, the newbies elected leadership for the upcoming term. I can't say there were any major surprises, but we learned a few things yesterday.

As expected Sen. Ray Merrick (and Rep.-elect Merrick, odd, no?) will serve as Speaker of the House. There was never any doubt whether the new speaker would be from Johnson County as all three candidates are from the Golden Ghetto. I had heard Merrick had the votes to win the thing, and he did. However, it wasn't exactly a run-away.

In the first ballot, which included Lance Kinzer, Arlen Siegfried and Merrick, Siegfried escaped with the most tallies -- 41. Merrick had 38 and Kinzer accumulated 13. (I have to assume these were sympathy votes?? Or favors owed, because as much as I like Kinzer, he's not up to the job.) Once Kinzer was eliminated, there was very little doubt, at least in my mind, of who would walk away with the prize -- Merrick.

An interesting tidbit, Olathe's Bob Montgomery, of the 15th District, finally publicly admitted he will not serve in the upcoming session. He dropped the worst worst kept secret in the history of Kansas, as he was nominating Arlen for the Speaker's job. Weird nomination speech, but OK.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Sen. Susan Wagle of Wichita handily defeated Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City. The final tally was 23-9. 

I'm kind of grossed out about all of the fawning over the first woman elected to serve as Senate President. Haven't we moved past that? Kansas has had a women in the Governorship, in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House -- everywhere. This tiny historical post script is unlikely to make little girls dream big. So, can we get over ourselves? K, thanks.Also, an small icky factor in the "cancer survivor" schtick. This was mentioned repeatedly and it's not really relevant to the role of Senate President.

Also of note in the race -- Sen. Pat Apple, partially of Johnson County, nominated Sen. Abrams, who was defeated, kind of, in epic fashion. I have Apple pegged as one of the last holdouts of the Kansas RINOs, and his speech on behalf of Abrams suggests I might be correct.

Back in the House, I was disappointed that Amanda Grosserode did not win the job of Majority Whip. She is an excellent legislator. Although deeply principled (and conservative!) she walks the line between going along to get along and advocating for the conservative positions extremely well. People like her, even when they disagree with her. That's a skill that so, so few principled people possess. The House was stupid, stupid to overlook her for the job.

Rep. Brian Weber of Dodge City got the bid. I know nothing about the guy, but I have trouble imaging he will be better at the job than Grosserode.

While we're on the topic of individuals -- I'd like to nominate Rep. Marvin Kleeb for least original nomination speech. Kleeb gave a speech on behalf of Rep. Marc Rhoades for Majority Leader. Kleeb used each letter in the word "leadership" to make the case for Rhoades. Meh. It sounded like a speech I once wrote in junior high. (Rep. Kleeb, I'm a pretty good writer and will write future speeches for you for a very nominal fee! Just let me know!)

Finally, my least favorite thing about leadership elections: They are done by secret ballot. Legislative leaders are extremely important with the power to kill or move legislation in a way that your average representative, committee chair or senator can not. I personally believe every vote cast as a public official should be public.

Senate Leadership
President - Sen. Susan Wagle, Wichita
Vice President - Sen. Jeff King, Independence
Majority Leader - Sen. Terry Bruce, Hutchinson
Assistant Majority Leader - Sen. Julia Lynn, Olathe
Assistant Majority Whip - Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma)

House Leadership
Speaker - Rep. elect Ray Merrick, Stilwell
Speaker Pro Tem - Rep. Peggy Mast, Emporia
Majority Leader - Rep. Jene Vickrey, Louisburg
Assistant Majority Leader - Rep. David Crum, Augusta
Majority Whip - Rep. Brian Weber, Dodge City
Majority Caucus - Rep. Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater

Mods are up again

Last week, I theorized that the new political group deeming itself "Moderate Kansas" was the brain child of liberal Republicans disappointed in the decidedly conservative turn of events during last August's Republican primaries. (The mods lost, overwhelmingly.)

A handy, anonymous researcher posted here that error of my thinking. It appears "Moderate Kansas" was created to raise the Kansas Democrats from the ashes. The group's website is registered to Aaron Estabrook, a Manhattan Democrat. You can find a little more about him here. (Long story shorter -- he's for women's rights, education and fair taxes. These are all code words for raging liberal.)

But, not to despair, you Democrats in Elephants' Clothing, err RINOs. It appears the Kansas moderate Republicans are doing some planning on their own. I can't take the credit for this find either. I got the information via email from an informant. (Not sure if he'd like to be named or not, so I'll maintain his anonymity.)

He learned that political action committee, Kansas Traditional Republican Majority Political Action Committee, is essentially made up of the players for the Senate Republican Leadership  Committee. (SRLC)

The SRLC was chaired by Stephen Morris, the former President of the Kansas Senate, in 2009. Last November, the group's statement of organization was amended to make Ryan Wright of Topeka the chairperson and treasurer.

Two weeks later, the Kansas Traditional Republican PAC amended its statement of organization to name Ryan Wright the chairperson and treasurer.

I have not had time to really do my due diligence on either of these groups, so I can offer no opinion on what any of it means. But, I'll say this: I'm sure meaning exists there.

The RINOs will be back, though their numbers were decimated in the last election, there are still a few in the Kansas Legislature.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Department of Labor Shuffling

There’s a hole at the top of the Kansas Department of Labor.

Back in September, Gov. Brownback sent former Sec. of Labor Karin Brownlee to the unemployment line.  Deputy Secretary of Labor Lana Gordon was given the nod, but only in the interim.

Still no word – not even a whisper as to why Brownlee was canned. I’ve got my own theories – specifically, when you board the Brownback train, you sit in your seat and keep your mouth shut. You so not attempt to help read the map or offer suggestions for scenic routes.

This is perhaps a character flaw in our ambitious Governor.  I suspect he likes to be surrounded by ‘yes’ men and women rather than trusting the judgment of those around him.

Anyway, rumor has it that despite their differences, Brownback offered Brownlee an olive branch in the form of an appointment to a well-compensated board. I think she said no, but this is third hand rumor,
so do with this information what you will.

And as for that hole at the top of the labor department? Brownback is said to be considering a soon-to-be former legislator who lost his election, largely as a result of redistricting snafus.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mods get knocked down, but they get up again

Republicans are setting up the firing range. Our targets – one another.

At least, that’s what I believe is probably the case with a new group calling itself “Moderate Kansas.”

The group has created a very vague website and is happily tweeting (@ModerateKS) itself into the state’s lexicon.

The website,  www.moderatekansas.com, is red. That’s about all there is to see. There’s a motto: A Rational Voice for the Majority of Kansas. But I don’t know what that means. It’s awfully hope-y change-y to me. You can ascribe whatever values suit your purpose to it.

According to their Twitter account, they are planning an organizational meeting to write a platform in January.

If I had to guess, this is the reincarnation of the so-called moderate Republicans. I just think we’ve heard this song before. The tune was catchy for awhile and then wore thin, kind of like “Tub Thumping,” by Chumbawamba. (They were one-hit wonders for a reason.)

I guess the mods are hoping they’ll get back up again after getting knocked down in the primary election last August. This time, however, it appears they hope to start a third party.

Look, I get it.

I am far more Libertarian than what currently passes for a Republican these days. We’ve got Gov. Sam Brownback pimping for wind credits. You’ll never find a Kansas Republican that doesn’t think farm subsidies are a brilliant piece straight from central planning.

There are days, many of them, when I seriously consider trying to build the Libertarian Party. I guess if this group of Moderate Kansas really gets going, there might be chance to splinter even further.

If nothing else, it will be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Outliers reorganize

While we're on the topic of reorganization, Wyandotte County and Sedgwick County recently selected their leadership teams.

This feisty group is the new leadership of the Wyandotte County Republican Party. According to the grapevine, the county's reorganization meeting was the biggest collection of Republicans to ever assemble in one place in Wyandotte County. Pictured here are Debi Carr Ward, secretary of the WyCo GOP; Becky Zirkle, secretary; Patricia Stoneking,vice chair; and Mark Gilstrap, county chair.

Meanwhile, the 100-pound GOP elephant, Sedgwick County -- second only to Johnson County's 200-pound elephant in the state GOP -- also reorganized recently. The chairmanship remains stable in the hands of Bob Dool. Sue Colaluca replaces Julie Sipe as vice chair, and Todd Johnson replaces Lisa Ritchie as treasurer. Benjamin Sauceda will continue on as the secretary.

What does all of this re-organization mean for the Kansas Republican Party? Probably not much. But stay tuned. You never know.

Annnd the race for KS GOP Chair is on

I was wondering whether Amanda Adkins, current Kansas GOP Chair, would
continue her rein as Queen of the Kansas GOP, but it appears she's turning
in her crown.

Kelly Arnold, a guy who has really adorable curly hair, has announced
his intent to run for Chair of the Kansas Republican Party. He currently serves as
Vice Chair. And really, the only thing I know about him is that thing about
his hair. Oh, and he's originally from McPherson and now lives in Wichita.
(I think.) According to what I just Googled, he also serves as the County
Clerk of Sedgwick County.

Anyway, Arnold is running to replace Adkins as Chair of the state GOP. And as is
the (strange) tradition in Republican circles, he's also announced a slate of
candidates to fill leadership positions.

His slate includes elevating Michelle Martin, a Salina attorney, from
secretary to vice chair of the state party. For secretary, Arnold's slate
lists Derek Kreifels, the current assistant treasurer of Kansas. Arnold's
slate would see TC Anderson remain in his current role as treasurer of the
state party.

I know this is rare, but I have few opinions on this topic. Adkins and Co.
did a fine job.Although with the exception of Adkins I couldn't pick the
leadership out of a line-up. I know of no scandals that occurred during the
Adkins rein, and the same can't be said of her predecessor Kris Kobach.

I guess if I had one, teeny, tiny complaint, it would be that I think the
group is hand-selected by the Governor. In my mind, that's backwards. It
should be a bottom-up process in which grassroots people elevate the
leaders among them rather than this kind of top-down leadership that I
believe is the norm in today's Kansas GOP. (And maybe always has been. As
I've said before, I'm relatively new to the whole scene.)

I also think I've said this before, but I'd like to see another slate --
not because I don't like the current leadership. Just, a little competition
never hurt anyone. In fact, I'd argue it makes us stronger.

Anyway, Arnold recently sent a letter to grassroots folks seeking their
support. Here's what he had to say:

I am running for Chair of the Republican Party because I believe in Kansas
and I believe that conservative principles will lead our state and our
country on a path to prosperity.  We must continue to fight back against
Democrats who want to make government bigger and more involved in Kansans’

I have been intimately involved in our grassroots Republican Party for
over a decade, not only serving in numerous leadership roles, but more
importantly volunteering for hundreds of campaigns to get conservatives
elected. Additionally, I was reelected this year as Sedgwick County Clerk.
 I look forward to working with you over the next few weeks as we refine
our message and work to make sure our conservative principles become a
reality by winning important elections for years to come.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Third District Delegates Announced

Here's the list. It will be interesting to see how many of these delegates show up to the Third District Reorganization coming soon.

65 Women Delegates (alpha order)
Baldwin, Peyton
Beverage, Nancy
Bishop, Tone
Blair, Christina
Bone, Shenon
Bourdess, Joy
Bredmeier, Char
Brems, Marla
Capron, Karin
Churchman, Kim
Clark, April
Culp, Mary Kay
Daugherty, Cynthia
Dengel, Carol
Denning, Marearl
Dickey, Emily
English, Alba
Essex, Robyn
Evans, Lindsey
Foushee, Frances
Gilmore, Julie
Gossage, Beverly
Grosserode, Amanda
Hanahan, Nancy
Hansen, Alice
Herron, M. Leah
Hodgdon, Anne
Holloway, Linda
Krieg, Carrie
Kriegshauser, Barbara
Krings, Arlene
Lathrum, Jennifer
Lightner, Patricia
Lightner, Lindsey
Lockwood, Michele R.
Lynn, Julia
McDonnell, Cathy
McMullen, Janet
Meigs, Kelly
Metsker, Susan
Morrison, Judy
Myers, Bernadette
Oakes, Barbara
O'Connor, Kay
O'Hara, Charlotte
Olson, Rachel
Person, Carri
Pilcher Cook, Mary
Quade, Kim
Riley, Doris
Rink, Sherry
Rubin, Roberta
Schmidt, Leslie
Sciolaro, Lynsey
Sciolaro, Rachel
Sciolaro, Vicki
Segraves, Theresa
Sipp, Joy
Smith, Melissa
Speidel, Liberty
Starks, Yvonne
Straub, Susan
Toplikar, Dianne
Waldenmeyer, Mary Ann
Yoder, Brooke 

65 Men Delegates (alpha order)
Baldwin, Mark
Beaven, Matthew
Bettes, Chad
Boillot, Bill
Bourdess, Michael Brown, Mike
Chaffee, Dale
Chandler, Bradley
Churchman, Jim
Colyer, Jeff
Cromer, Greg A.
Darrow, Glenn
Denning, Jim
Donohoe, Owen
Eaves, Larry
Ellzey, Gavin L.
Gilmore, Kevin P.
Golba, Tim
Gossage, Robert
Hanahan, Lloyd
Hansen, Karl
Hayden, Calvin
Hildabrand, Brett
Hodgdon, Robert
Holloway, Jerry Kinzer, Lance
Kleeb, Marvin
Krieg, Mike
Kriegshauser, John Dennis
Krings, Gary B.
Leary, Joe
Lightner, David L.
Long, Earl
Macheers, Charles
McGovern, Michael A.
McMullen, Mike
McPherson, Craig
Merrick, Ray
Metsker, Ronnie
Moore, Michael
Morrison, Ken
Myers, Currie
Olson, Rob
Osterhaus, Jason
Pirner, Mike
Poulter, Alex
Rink, Larry
Roberts, Steve E.
Rubin, John
Ryckman, Ron
Schwab, Scott
Schwendemann, Kenneth
Sciolaro, Charles
Sciolaro, Jonathan
Sciolaro, Ryan
Shute, Stephen
Siegfried, Arlen
Smith, Greg
Smith, Ken
Straub, Ernie
Toplikar, John
Treacy, Tom
Welton, Michael
Wolf, Larry
Yoder, Kevin
 66 Women Alternate Delegates (alpha order)
Abraham, Katrina
Allenbrand, Ramona
Apple, Allison
Barackman, Judy
Beauchaine, Susan
Berry, Pam
Brown, Kimberly
Bukaty, Maureen
Burditt, Pam
Campbell, Lisa
Cole, Candise
Collins, Shetta
Davis, Erin
Delaney, Kathryn
DeVera, Sue
Dunn, Peggy
Eaves, Colleen
Felter, LeEtta
Finn, Jill
Gfoeller, Monica
Gowans, Betty
Guthrie, Brenda
Hayden, Kelly
Hernandez, Jacqueline
Hochscheid, Liz
Hollister, AliceLee
Hulme, Lisa
Jadlow, Blanca
Keaton, Patty
Kissell, Maryteresa
Koranda, Diane
Korphage, Rebecca
Kreifels, Melanie
Krull, Gretchen
Kuckelman, Jo
LaMar, Brenda
Leary, Katherine
Lynn, Megan
Mollohan, Debra
Monica, Marsha
Moore, Maryann
Newton, Mary
Ney, Jill
Pilcher Cook, Mary
Powers, Eleanor J.
Purkey, Lisa
Riedel, Jan
Rinke, Rebecca
Robinow, Margie
Roethle, Alana
Rutherford, Kay
Rush, JoAnna
Russell, Hannah
Sande, Jenny
Schnegelberger, Nancy
Schwendemann, Jeanette
Slaven, Denise
Snyder, Audrey
Stewart, Linda Lee
Sutton, Lana
Swanson, Mieke
Townley, Suzanne
Walston, Marisel
Webb, Wendi
Whitney, Cindy
Wymer, Kelly
66 Men Alternate Delegates
Allen, Jr., Marvin
Bare, III., Charles
Beauchaine, Josh
Beauchamp, Mark
Beveridge, Joe
Bruce, Bob
Bruchman, Rob
Bukaty, Mike
Burditt, Jim
Campbell, Craig
Carroll, Chris
Conaghan, John
Copeland, Michael
Cowing, Shawn
Delaney, Richard M.
Denning, Frank
Doane, John
Espinoza, Oscar
Essex, Steve
Felter, David J.
Felter, John
Fry, Larry
Fucik, Patrick
Godfrey, Darrell
Guthrie, Dallas
Hermes, Dalton
Hermreck, Brandon F.
Hermreck, Walter
Hodge, Benjamin
Hughes, Bruce
Hulme, Steve
Jadlow, Trey
Jenkins, Eric
Johnson, Jerred
Jordan, Nick
Keltner, Jr., Kenneth
Kenig, Brandon
Kimmell, M.D., Richard
Koranda, Frank
Kreifels, Derek
Kuckelman, Mike
Lawrence, Nate
Lynn, Jeffrey
McConwell, Ed
McDonnell George
Melookaran, Joseph
Miller, Hogan
Nelson, James
Nelson, John
Purtell, Duane
Rinke, Mark
Robinow, Jay
Seldner, David
Steuve, Kevin
Sutton, Bill
Tenpenny, Chad
Thomas, Michael
Toburen, Andy
Waldschmidt, Chris
Walston, Carl
Webb, Dave
Wheeler, David
Whitney, Don
Whitney, Trevor
Wilson, Don

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What next???

Now that the Johnson County Republican Party is "re-organized," the grassroots folks of the party will soon be asked to select new leadership for Kansas' Third District.

I've now been through a few rounds Third District Delegation meetings, and well, I have trouble figuring out what it is exactly the Third District Delegation does. But, like all organizations, I guess it's kind of what you make of it.

Currently, Keith Esau is the chair of the Third District. He will now serve in the Kansas House and by all accounts has no plans to run for chair again. From what I can tell, his job as Chair entailed selecting which of the delegate alternates would be seated at the state convention.

The vice chair of the Third District is Missey Smith, wife of Sen.-elect Greg Smith. Esau initially had a slate of candidates he brought forward for leadership. His choice vice was Christie Kriegshauser. Smith was part of a second slate, and was nominated for vice chair after losing the chairmanship. (I'm working from faded memory here, so someone feel free to correct me in the comments if need be.) Anyway, Christie withdrew her name from consideration saying Smith would make a fine vice chair.

Crisis, or fight, averted, and we all moved on down the road. I can't even remember who serves as treasurer. (I think it's someone from the 'dotte. And I feel bad that I can't remember which person from the 'dotte. I mean, there aren't that many Republicans in Wyandotte County, right? I should be able to remember one guy's name!)

The secretary, I believe, is Vicki Sciolaro.

So long story longer, the goal of the Third District meeting will be to select new leadership and to select delegates to the state party. They will in turn select new leaders at the state party level, and then we'll all hold hands and sing hymns for two years until we do it all over again in 2014.

No word on a meeting date yet, though Keith Esau said something about the event being held on the evening of Dec. 14. That's a Friday, very, very near Christmas, so tens of people will probably be there. I'll go, but I'll hate myself for being there. I'd much rather be somewhere warm and fun drinking egg nog and singing Christmas carols with friends and family, but principles.

One candidate has stepped forward to seek chairmanship of the Third District -- Vicki Sciolaro. I do not know her well, but she's uber-involved. And, she made the list of both slates for delegates to the Third District from Johnson County, which is to say, she's either well-liked OR people think she'll bend to their will.

I'm just thrilled to see a woman stepping forward for the top job. I think they serve with much more graciousness and principle than men in general. Sorry dudes. It's not your fault. I'm sure it has something to do with nature and testosterone.

As with county party leadership, the vice chair must be of the opposite sex, and Gavin Ellzey has stepped forward seeking that role. I read his posts on Twitter (@GavinGOP) and find him to be something of a fire brand, which I like. I've met him once or twice, but can't say I know him well.

Sciolaro and Ellzey passed out flyers at the JCRP re-organization meeting announcing their candidacy. "Revitalize the 3rd District" their flyer reads. The flyer says their vision is to create a "benchmark for congressional party organizations across the United States -- a dedicated, innovative team that will create new opportunities for everyone to get involved while working closely with existing Republican organizations."

Sounds good to me!

If you hear of anyone else that intends to throw their hat into the ring, I'd like to know about it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jenkins takes leadership role

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins was elected conference vice chair of House Republicans.

She'll serve with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who was elected Chair.

Jenkins beat out Martha Roby of Alabama for the post.

I think this makes Jenkins number 5 in terms of power in the U.S. House, but I'm not certain.

Typically I think having more Kansans in leadership positions is a good thing, and then I think, but Bob Dole. Either way, congrats to Congresswoman Jenkins on the new gig.

Officially, Jerry Moran

Update: I just received my first email from Moran asking for donations related to the NRSC cause-ish. So that took about six hours.

Jerry Moran is the new Chair of the NRSC.

Here's what Sen. Moran had to say about his new title:

“I would like to express gratitude to my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the NRSC. The most important thing that determines the success of Republicans in 2014 is governing well today and representing the values and philosophies of our constituents. In this new role, I will work to recruit the most qualified and dynamic candidates and raise the resources necessary to make a difference in the next election.

“Before pursuing this position, I spoke with Senator Bob Dole about his time representing Kansas in the United States Senate. We discussed both the challenges and opportunities that accompanied his role in Senate leadership and how he used his leadership post to better represent Kansas. Though my new position will bring additional responsibility, I am deeply committed to fulfilling my duties as a senator to promote the interests and values of Kansas. I look forward to working with Leader McConnell and others within our Conference to make certain we make the right decisions for Kansans and all Americans.”

It's Metsker by acclamation

My anonymous source was correct -- Ken Smith did not vie for Johnson County Republican Party Chair and Ronnie Metsker was approved by acclamation. Also approved by acclamation were Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook as vice chair; Mike Kuckelman as treasurer; and Theresa Segraves as Secretary.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. It's not that I dislike Metsker or that I like Smith. In all honesty, I barely know either of them. BUT I firmly believe and am committed to the idea that a little debate, or "family discussion" as Metsker calls it, is good for the party.

In lean years, when Republicans have uphill battles to get elected and when our ideals are in the dumpster (as they are nationally) there's a good case for a strong, united party. However, now, as the county party is strong, now is a good time to have some internal debates.

I'm not asking for screaming matches -- just a discussion about vision and the future. When there's no opposition, no one has to define their vision or ideals. We just all join hands and sing Kum By Ya and call it a day. I think we need a little bit of fire in our bellies.

There were two sets of slates offered for Third District delegates. One was endorsed by the Governor and the other was put forward by people calling themselves "Faith and Freedom" Slate.

These things are weird, weird, weird. First, often there is overlap between the lists. Such was the case last night. For example, Gavin Ellzey, Jason Osterhaus, Kim Churchman and Mary Kay Culp appeared on both slates.

Second, there's no mention of why these 130 delegates should be selected. It's just a list of names and in many cases, the people listed didn't even know they were nominated to be delegates, let alone endorsed by some group or person. Case in point: Mike and Donna Egan received the Governor's endorsement, but withdrew before the ballots were returned.

If I were making my own list, and two years from now I will -- watch this space for Gidget's List circa 2014 -- I would take care to endorse grass roots people over people who are already elected or are actively employed by a lobbying organization or PAC.

If we're truly to be a grassroots party, and I think we must, we should work hard to make sure the voices of those who don't hold power are heard and known. There are dozens of elected officials on the lists for both slates.

I'm pretty sure the "slates" are simply an effort by those who drafted the lists to grasp at power. It's disappointing that's where we're at. Unfortunately, the majority of the people actively involved in politics don't remain committed to principle for very long. Instead, they're interested in power and who they can control.

Why else announce a slate -- especially if in no way connected to principle?

I am especially discouraged by the Governor's endorsement slate. We should be striving to be a bottom-up party -- not a party in which the Governor dictates to everyone else. This is a basic conservative principle. There were more than 300 people vying for roles as delegates to the Third District. Of those, only 130 will get seats. And those 130 people will have limited authority or power to do much at all. So I do not understand why the Governor would discount 170 active Republicans to endorse 130 of them. I think it was a misstep, and I can't figure out the reason for it.

We won't know the results of the Third District delegate election for a few days.

Now a word about last night's meeting: It went on way, way too long. After about 2.5 hours, when Ronnie said, I just have a few more words, I almost wept. For many of us, our work days start long before the sun comes up. (Ahem. This person right here!) And by the time Metsker gave his acceptance speech, we had been in that auditorium for two hours. And it's not like we were seeing high-quality entertainment. (Pro tip: Toastmasters.) I'm insanely interested in all of this stuff and I was bored almost to the point of tears. I did not feel rallied. I did not feel jazzed. I felt like I was taking a sleeping pill in live form.

This was not a coronation. In my mind, this was supposed to basically be a business meeting with a brief bit of recognition to some stellar volunteers.

By the way, last night JCRP recognized Theresa Segraves for her volunteer efforts; Dennis and Barb Kriegshauser for their volunteer efforts; Marvin Kleeb for his fundraising efforts and Doris Riley and Marearl Denning for their work as JCRP leadership. If I would've had my way, we would've heard a few words from them rather than the never-ending speeches from Metsker.

It would also have been nice to see more of our newly-electeds make appearances. There were several electeds there, but none of the people making a run at statehouse leadership -- Rep. Arlen Siegfried, Rep. Ray Merrick, Rep. Lance Kinzer -- could be bothered to show.

Also, of interest, we learned that the party has $17,000 in hand, but almost $9,000 is spoken for. The lease on JCRP headquarters is up at the end of the year and the new leadership will determine whether to renew.

Moran moving to the Big Leagues???

We'll know today whether the junior Senator from Kansas, Jerry Moran, becomes the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

I'm raising a glass to him now and hoping he beats Ohio's Rob Portman. We do things right here in Kansas, and I'd be happy to share Moran.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Congrats Bob Montgomery

Congratulations to Bob Montgomery who will be one of the shortest serving legislators in recent memory. The former Olathe City Council member was elected unopposed to the Kansas House on Nov. 6.

Rumor has it, he will be resigning shortly, and a handful of precinct committeemen and women will select his replacement.

There are two candidates wining and dining those folks hoping to get their votes.

Erin Davis, a non-traditional KU law student, and former Rep. Mike Kiegerl. Kiegerl would need to set up residency in the 15th District in order to legally hold the position.

Prior to the election, John Toplikar was also kicking around the idea of challenging for the seat. He, however, won his election to the board of county commissioners.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Racing for county party leadership

NOTE: According to an anonymous poster, Ken Smith has decided not to run for JCRP Chair. I guess we'll find out tonight.

It's official. Ronnie Metsker has announced a slate for Johnson County Republican Party leadership.
Several weeks ago, I reported that Ken Smith, a Mission police officer, announced his candidacy for Chair of the JCRP. Metsker is essentially the incumbent.

Someone was kind enough to slip me a letter that Metsker wrote to committee precinct men and women yesterday. In it, he asks for their votes and announces a slate of candidates for leadership roles.

They include:
Ronnie Metsker as Chair
Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook as Vice Chair
Theresa Segraves as Secretary
Mike Kukelman as Treasurer

I have never understood why these candidates are typically elected as part of a slate. If someone thinks they have the skills, ability and desire to lead the county party, I don't see why they have to find others to fill out a slate.

I really don't care to see elected officials serving as party leadership. I would rather a grassroots activist hold a role of vice chair, or any other role than Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook. Speaking of, Pilcher Cook strikes me as more conservative than Ronnie Metsker. So I am surprised that she'll be joining Metsker's slate.

And while we're on the topic of vice chair, I'm pretty certain that the chair and vice chair must be members of the opposite sex. This seems antiquated.

I haven't heard yet whether Ken Smith will be putting forward a slate. (My guess is yes, but I haven't heard a thing.)

The JCRP reorganization meeting starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Shawnee Mission West High School. I imagine it will be a very brief meeting. (One year, it went well past midnight.) Precinct committeemen and women are expected to attend, but I'll be shocked if more than 10 percent show.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Moran wants NRSC leadership role

Sen. Jerry Moran has only been a member of the U.S. Senate for two years, but already he's seeking a leadership role of sorts.

The junior Senator from Kansas has announced his intent to vie for the role of National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman. According to members of his staff, he has the votes to get the job.

However, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is said to be considering a challenge to Moran.

I don't know enough about the inner workings of the U.S. Senate to make a qualified call about which of the two men would best serve in the position.

The NRSC raises funds to assist in the election of Republican Senators. I *believe* they typically stay out of primaries and then drop tons of cash in critical races after the dust settles and one Republican is left standing.

According to Roll Call, a Washington-insider-y paper, Moran will consider whether the group should start jumping into primaries to select better candidates. (I'm guessing Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock losing seats Republicans were widely expected to win has something to do with the discussion.)

I personally am not a huge fan of Rob Portman. Yes, he did a bang up job preparing Gov. Romney for his first two debates. (The third, well...) But does that translate into chairing the NRSC? I don't know.

Portman is from a swing state with an iffy (and sometimes stupid) electorate. That could create special challenges for Portman as he tries to turn the U.S.S. Titanic, I mean Senate, around. Can he politically make some of the difficult decisions he may face as NRSC Chair? I don't have an answer, and honestly, I don't even know if it's a good question.

If it is a good question, I think we can safely assume that Jerry Moran at this point has a safe spot in the U.S. Senate for as long as he wants it. We kept Bob Dole there until his food had to be pre-chewed and it appears we're on track to let Sen. Pat Roberts stay just as long. If there are tough decisions to be made, Moran can make them without much backlash from Kansans. I believe that to be true.

Here's what I can say about Moran: There is still blood on the floor from his primary campaign against Todd Tiahrt. He can definitely raise money and make friends in Kansas. He's pretty personable and likeable, but can he raise funds on a grander scale? I have no idea.

The current NRSC Chair is Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Make of that what you will. In his bio, he claims credit for 2010 gains in the Senate.

I have a very, very low opinion of the Republican members of the U.S. Senate, so I feel pretty confident that whatever decision they make, it will be the wrong one.

The vote is set for next Wednesday. Stay tuned.

More election night shocks

Amidst all the nationwide surprises, two quiet races in the county also were a slap in the face with a wet fish.

I write, of course, about the two races for county commission seats.

In the Third District, Steve Klika handily defeated Terry Presta by an 8,000 vote margin, or 15 points. Presta was the conservative in the race, endorsed by the predecessor in the seat, David Lindstrom.

Klika is what I would call an old school Dick-Bond-esque Republican. That essentially means he believes there are no problems a few taxpayer dollars placed in the hands of his friends can't solve. With Klika's election, we essentially have two Democrats on the Board of Commissioners. The other is Ed Peterson.

I fully expect Klika to immediately call for tax increases to fund schools, transportation and probably UN Agenda 21-type environmental standards. The good news is he's on a commission with several serious conservatives -- Michael Ashcraft, Jason Osterhaus and newly-elected John Toplikar.

Speaking of John Toplikar, I can't believe he won. I can't believe he defeated Calvin Hayden by 11,000 votes, or more than 30 points. Prior to this election, I would've put "well-liked" and "popular" in front of Hayden's name. But after that shellacking, I must re-evaluate. There's a chance I'm running in the wrong circles, because I thought everyone liked and admired Calvin Hayden. I suspected the Kansans for Life endorsement of Toplikar might hurt Hayden a little bit, but that blow out is not indicative of the power of KFL, which matters less in the general than in a primary. That was something else entirely.

Additionally, Hayden worked himself nearly to death during that election. I saw him absolutely everywhere -- at every party function and a number of fundraisers for other politicians. I think he walked door-to-door and his signs were everywhere. Toplikar's signs, on the other hand, were largely home made jobs that sprung up a few weeks before the election. Toplikar did attend the Olathe Republican Party picnic, but other than that, I never saw him.

No one in the Establishment or even the Tea Party activists seems to "like" Toplikar. He's stand-offish and quiet. (And then there was that whole sign stealing fiasco.)

But he's uber conservative to the point of not appointing people to the many jobs the BOCC is tasked with filling simply because he believes those appointed boards do nothing but spend more money. He's right, of course, but by not appointing a person to the board who would share his own values, he cedes some power to those who would tax us to death.

 The new county commissioners are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, and I think that speaks volumes about the difference between certain parts of the county.

I like to think I'm pretty good at sticking my finger in the air and determining which way the political winds are blowing. But both of these elections give me pause. 

Kansas gets its supermajority

Despite the horrible nationwide election results, Kansans upped the conservative ante on Nov. 7. Really, Kansas' results were the only bright spot on Tuesday night. Had Kansas' results mirrored the rest of the country, I'd probably be standing atop a high bridge trying to talk myself into jumping off. (I kid. I kid. But seriously, that was one depressing, depressing election night. Worse than 2008. At least that year, I saw it coming. I could prepare my fragile psyche.)

Back to the heartland, so the Republicans, and conservatives specifically will see a supermajority in the Statehouse when the 2013 legislative session kicks off. In the Senate, conservatives will hold 27 of 40 seats. In the House, we're rallying with 75 of 125 members. (Slightly short of the necessary two-thirds majority, but with a conservative Governor and Senate, we can concede those 9 seats.)

I was disappointed to see that Sen. Chris Steineger lost. It was an interesting experiment to see whether an 'R' could hold that district. Steineger was our best bet. I'd hoped he would get us in the door up in KCK. Alas, it wasn't to be. (Steineger would not have added to the Senate majority, really, because he was too moderate for my tastes, but it would've been a start.)

I also think Johnson County Republicans should be carefully examining our margins of victory. They were narrower than I expected, which means we must remain vigilant. We can't lay down and stop working for conservative ideals. Those margins were too close in an election that should've seen a conservative push from upticket.

An example: The Kelly Meigs vs. Dave Pack race. The provisional ballots have yet to be counted, and Meigs holds a slight lead of approximately 300 votes. There are still 200 provisional ballots on the table. Yes, she's the victor, but that's an awfully slim margin in a year in which I would expect nothing less than 52-48 percent wins at a minimum.

Also, in 2010, every Johnson County House seat belonged to a Republican. We gained seats due to redistricting, but we lost at least one. Democrat Nancy Lusk beat Republican Marla Brems in the 22nd District. The Dem won by an almost 20-point margin. Not cool. (I know so little about those candidates and that race, but still...) Additionally, in the 24th District, Democrat Emily Perry beat Republican Christopher Waldschmidt. (Again, I know little about the race or those candidates.)

The race between Republican Melissa Rooker and Megan England was also too close for comfort. Rooker won, but only by 200 votes. (Provisionals still need to be counted.)

All of this tells me that even in Kansas, we have work to do. We have neighbors -- in JOHNSON COUNTY where the taxpayers reside -- who think we should take money from those who work to provide things like cell phones for those who don't or work. It's called redistribution, and it should be rejected at every level.

So, a cautionary victory in Kansas, and now the real work begins. We have a sparkling opportunity to show the rest of the country what true freedom looks like. Because of the results nationwide, I personally believe Kansas elected officials need to hit the gas on conservative policies. I would love to see this conservative majority push immediately and decisively for things like school choice. (We've lost this country if we can't break the public schools' political indoctrination camps.) An example? In Kids Voting Kansas, a public school sponsored event that "teaches" children about the rights and responsibilities of voting, Kansas kids by a huge margin elected President Obama.

Let that sink in for a moment: Kansas school children overwhelmingly would've elected the President while their Kansas parents in the actual polls overwhelmingly supported Mitt Romney. In the Kids Voting Kansas polls, 26,880 students selected Obama to 19,269 students supporting Mitt Romney. Romney won the state of Kansas by more almost 20 points.

In addition to breaking the public school monopoly, Kansas political leaders should also work to limit the reach of the government in the lives of everyday Kansans.

Officials are projecting a more than $300 million budget shortfall next year, and there will be tremendous pressure to increase taxes or continue a sales tax that is set to sunset in order to balance the budget. Those plans should be rejected. We need real, lasting cuts to the state budget.

Now that the election is over, the real work of conservative activists begins. We must hold our newly-elected leaders accountable to our ideals as we show the rest of the country what freedom and prosperity really looks like.

Our work isn't over. It's just begun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


So tonight, there's going to be a Johnson County Republican Party Election Party. Almost all local Republican candidates will host their volunteers, campaign staff and party activists together in one location.

This doesn't happen everywhere. In other places, individual candidates host their own parties. The joint event is one of the best perks of the JCRP, and I think it helps create party unity. Everyone will be there -- at least one representative from the Governor's office, probably Lt. Gov. Colyer, Kevin Yoder, Johnson County's dozens of statehouse representative candidates and state Senate candidates.

It's a great place to see and be seen. And that's one of my least favorite things about the election night events. Hundreds of people will be there. At some points the DoubleTree ballroom will be so jam packed it will be impossible to get around. It will be incredibly loud. Typically, there are musical performances and political speakers as well as cocktails.

I love and dread this event. This campaign has been one of the longest in my recent memory. I walked precincts almost daily this summer sweating to death in the 100-degree heat. I've phone banked, lit dropped, parade marched, and now I'm tired. If I had my choice, the party would consist of pizza, close Republican friends, a few televisions turned to Fox News and CNN, a six pack and sweat pants.

That's not what's going to occur tonight. As I type -- and it's still three hours from poll-closing time and even longer until we have local results -- people are in the OP Doubletree ballroom setting up.

There will be cocktail dresses, neatly pressed suits, uncomfortable shoes, news cameras and awkward conversations. BUT everyone who attends will probably get to meet new people and hopefully the evening will end with some cheers as Romney walks away with the presidential election.

I'll be the one in the corner holding my shoes hoping to hear what the analysts are saying on television.

Side note: I hear there will also be a presentation to Ronnie Metsker, Marearl Denning, Doris Riley and Mike Kukelman. The foursome serves as leadership for the JCRP. At least two of them -- Denning and Riley -- have said they do not seek to hold their leadership roles next  year.

Second side note: The party starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Double Tree in Overland Park, 10100 College Blvd. The general public is invited. Cash bar.

Down low on the ballot

They're coming for your teeth. Or something.

Fair warning. I'm about to talk about something I know very little about, so bear with me.

In the Wichita area, voters will consider whether to increase the amount of fluoride in their water. This issue is completely beyond my comprehension.

Proponents and opponents of the move are arguing about the value of man-made versus natural chemicals. It's all very science-y and confusing. Here's a bit about it from the Wichita Eagle.

After reading several recent stories about the topic, I still have no idea exactly why or who is wanting to add more fluoride to the water. If I lived there, I'd vote against it.

All Kansans will also be asked to change the Kansas Constitution. The change would allow legislators instead of the Constitution itself to set the tax rates for registered boats in Kansas.

I voted to make the change, but I will be very surprised if it passes. I suspect most people heading into the polls won't even know about the amendment question until they are standing in the polling booth.

When that happens, I suspect most Kansans' default position will be 'no.' I know without understanding the question, I wouldn't be interested in changing the Constitution and a quick read of the question sounds as if the change is trying to institute additional taxes.

It isn't. Actually, the change will likely lead to lower personal property taxes on boats, but most voters aren't going to know that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guys, I am NERVOUS

I am so nervous I am having trouble finding words, so this blog will likely be a little quiet until Thursday or Friday.

I'm terrified that Gov. Romney might not win the election tomorrow. I'm going to do some phone banking today and tonight. And then, I wish I could find an all-day Tuesday prayer revival in which we prayed in mass -- together -- for our country.

Instead, the political activists will probably spend the day doing final calling and poll watching and spend the evening dressed in cocktail attire (or close to it) trying to see and be seen. I guess it's all part of the political game and serves as a way to thank volunteers. But I'd rather my thanks come in the form of politicians actually getting in office and vocally, vigilantly working for conservative values.

Unfortunately, I think most of them are simply angling to be re-elected. The election never really ends. It's just becomes pandering in the off years.

And now, I've depressed myself.

The country needs your prayers. Mitt Romney needs your votes. The real work of holding our conservative winners accountable begins on Nov. 7.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's the final push heading into the general election, and Johnson County Republicans are out campaigning.

They aren't, however, campaigning much in Johnson County.

A stop at the Yoder Victory Office or Johnson County Republican Party -- or whatever it's called -- volunteers are dialing voters in swing states trying to get the vote out for Romney.

Different groups have traveled to Iowa and Colorado to work on getting Romney votes, and even today -- three days before the election, the RNC is desperate for people to go to Iowa and knock on doors. Actually, the panicky emails from the national committee have me concerned about the presidential election.

All this is to say, it's been a little quiet here the last few days, because I've been out campaigning, which I find absolutely horrible, by the way. Neighborhoods full of split-level houses are crippling.

Since the advent of advanced, walk-in voting, I always wonder how fruitful the final few days of a big campaign are. I think I read somewhere that approximately 30 percent of the electorate will cast votes before Nov. 6.

I'm not sure the mad rush on the final weekend does all that much good, but I wouldn't want to test that theory by skipping it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Midlife Crisis Tour 2012

Will the Govn'r and his outlaw biking gangs get leather vests? Please, Please no.


The Governor and some of his friends are going to criss-cross the state pimping Brownback's "Road Map." They're doing it on motorcycles. Yuck.

I swear if they show up in leather chaps and patch-y vests, I will be forced to forever ridicule and humiliate them. And if they give themselves nicknames, like "Spider," "Jingles," or "Junkyard," I'll be forced to move. 

I'm already embarrassed for them if it ends up looking half as dorky, wannabe as I imagine.


This is a little bit disgusting and whole lot disheartening.

Remember back in 2010, when the turncoats of the Kansas Legislature implemented a 1 cent sales tax? This was before Brownback was elected, so he gets a pass on it. The plan was to raise sales taxes 1 penny on every dollar just to get the state through the lean budget times of the recession.

Legislators promised, I mean PROMISED, at the time that the majority of the tax would sunset in three years. (A small portion was to be a forever past to fund state highways. Yay. Not.) They practically signed in blood that this was just to edge us through. Remember, this was a Republican legislature and while more conservative members of the House wailed and moaned about it, they went along.

Fast forward two years. Times remain lean. Meanwhile, a Brownback-backed state legislature, led largely by conservatives in the House, rammed through a budget that cut deeper than originally planned. They played hard ball and won... or did they?

Now Brownback is polishing his knives and potentially preparing to stick a slew of them into the backs of conservative legislators. Last week, the Governor proposed extending the soon-to-expire sales tax to make up for upcoming shortfalls.

This is unacceptable.

I have asked a number of conservative legislators whether they would support a plan that extends the tax. Unfortunately, very, very few have vowed not to support it. The vast majority, however, have said it's just too early to take a hard stand on such an issue.

That is also unacceptable.

Legislators should take heed. The constant legislative attempt to shroud the budget in shadow and play games with my pocketbook is so raunchy. Principled people can take a stand on whether to raise taxes or break promises. This isn't difficult.

There are many voters who swallowed the sales tax increase only because they were promised the majority of it would expire. You'll get no sympathy from me if you can't keep your promise, and I have a feeling I'm not alone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Kansas Watchdog??

Update: Earl Glynn is (sort of) still with Kansas Watchdog. Read about it here.

Kansas Watchdog is a fairly reliable source for honest news.  Earl Glynn, the guy that runs it (used to run it??) is as honest as the day is long. He also runs a site that mirrors the Drudge Report, called Kansas Meadowlark. It's filled with local news of the week, and I visit it often. I do know Glynn is a conservative, a major, major conservative. He's also a pretty savvy researcher, but he's done a great job at Kansas Watchdog of holding to the center in his investigative reporting.

Meadowlark is his own site. Watchdog is part of some think tank, I think. (Kansas Policy Institute? I'm not sure.)

However, in the last few days, I've been wondering if there haven't been some changes at Watchdog. I haven't had time to investigate what with Election Day bearing down on us like a Frankenstorm over climate changed Atlantic Ocean waters.

I've been noticing that the Tweets coming from Watchdog have what I would call a liberal bias.  Note, for example this Tweet: : shines a light on extravagant by .

It's the word "extravagant" that sticks in my craw. I don't think that's a neutral word. I haven't even read the story yet, but it's the second or third Tweet in the last few weeks that has me wondering: what in the world is going on over Watchdog?

Feel free to spill what you know in the comment section.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Romney wins Kansas

Over at MSNBC, political analysts (err, democratic activists) have already called Ohio, Virginia and Iowa for President Obama.

Inspired by their courage, I've decided to call Kansas. Only, I'm going to use actual facts instead of wishful thinking in my analysis.

First, there's this nugget:  As of today Republicans have a 33,000 early vote lead over Democrats in Kansas.

And then there's this: There are more Republican and unaffiliated voters in Kansas today than there were in 2008, according to the Secretary of State's Office, and there are 45,000 less Democrats. Republican registrations increased by over 11,000 to 782,161 people - that's nearly 45 percent of the state's voter totals. Unaffiliated registrations reached 508,204, an increase of more than 25,000 since 2008. Unaffiliated voters now make up 29 percent of the state's voters.

So yeah, Vanna. Put 6 electoral college votes on the board for Romney.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/10/23/2542235/gop-unaffiliated-voter-registration.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, October 26, 2012

Worst kept secret in Johnson County

About 20 precinct people in one Kansas House district will select the next representative for a large swath of Johnson County. One candidate for the House will drop out shortly after winning the election on Nov. 6 and a handful of candidates are already wooing precinct people for a chance at the seat. The Republican candidate on the ballot is a shoe-in, and when he resigns, precinct people will pick his replacement.

I really, really want to mention names, because I gasped when I heard the name of one of the hopefuls for the soon-to-be abandoned seat, but it seems well, unseemly, mentioning all of this when the general election hasn't yet happened.

To date, three people have announced their intention to be appointed into the seat. One candidate is a retired and well-liked legislator. (If I were creating Vegas odds, I'd give this person the edge.) A second candidate is the 20-something niece or daughter (somehow related) of well-known conservative activists. (Rumor has it she plans to drop out, but I don't know if that's happened yet.) A third candidate is a budding attorney who worked briefly for Rep. Kevin Yoder in the local office. And there may be a fourth candidate. He's on the ballot in another race, and if he loses, he has told people he will seek the soon-to-be vacant House seat.

Don't get me started on why someone -- the candidate currently on the ballot -- would rush to Topeka on the filing deadline to run for the seat, quasi forcing other interested parties from it and then, before the general election announce his intention to resign once elected.

If I lived in that district, I'd be raving mad.

I'm not sure how this all will shake out. Procedurally, there are some questions. For example, there are several empty precinct positions in the district. (I've heard this representative will be selected by fewer than 20 people.)  Speaking of those empty seats, Ronnie Metsker, county chair, is tasked with filling them. Could he pack the spot to ensure that his favorite candidate gets the legislative seat?

Will the Metsker still be the chair when the precinct election occurs? There's a possibility that a new chair could be in place by that time.

Does the current candidate have to be sworn-in before resigning? That happens, I think, in January, but the newly-electeds will choose House and party leadership before then. Whoever lands in that seat could influence who serves as Speaker of the House.

I'll name names after the polls close.  It's about to get interesting. 

Ruffling feathers

Clay Barker has never patted me on the head. Not even once, but an angry emailer is convinced my praise for Barker, the executive director of the KS GOP, and Ronnie Metsker, is because I just want my friends in power.

I knew it was only a matter of time before this blog ruffled someone's feathers. I don't like it, but short of not writing, which isn't going to happen anytime soon, it was bound to happen.

I received a pretty angry email a few days ago from a party activist. This person, who I will not name, is truly conservative and committed to the cause -- not always nice, but committed. The email reads:
"I think you need to take a few days off blogging, look at what you've written, and ask yourself why you sound like just as much as a "rah rah" party insider (a bit hack-ish, really) as the people you criticize for being party hacks..."

I did take a few days off -- not at this request -- but I did have a few days to reflect. A party "hack" by my definition, is someone who does what is necessary to retain power or the appearance of power. I have NO power. I am not an elected official. I am not a lobbyist. I'm not even a heavy donor. I'm an observer, not an actor or influencer.

The emailer takes issues with the my mild criticism of the Gardner and Overland Park party committees.

"You've already admitted to me you don't know anything about why they formed or who formed them, but you keep insulting them.... Seriously, it just makes you look really bad to any precinct captain in Olathe, Gardner, or Overland Park (that's a lot of precinct people, by the way) who are involved with conservative causes, because you just said that they want a stupid certificate from Ronnie Metsker.  You sound like a jerk..."
Yeah. I can live with that. The emailer also is not a fan of Johnson County Republican Party Chair Ronnie Metsker or Kansas GOP executive director Clay Barker. The emailer says Metsker is incompetent and...

"Clay Barker -- hilarious.  He tried to stop 40 precinct people who still ended up showing up to form the Overland Park Republican Party.  Why?  Because of sour grapes.  But you love him because he pats you on the head."

For the record, Clay Barker has never patted me on the head. Not even once. (Maybe I'm doing it wrong? Does he pat other people on the head?)  I don't even know if the guy knows me. But he's personable and makes the little people (LIKE ME!) feel comfortable at party functions. Most of the people at GOP events will knock the little people over on the way to shake hands with Kris Kobach or (insert important government person here.) Clay will take a few minutes to talk to anyone. So yeah, I like him.

The email continues and I was going to respond to each point, but honestly, I want to keep this blog somewhat light. Call it the Page Six of the Johnson County wing of the GOP. I'll not bore you longer except to say, I disagree with the emailer. But I'm glad the writer is engaged and paying attention.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ken Smith to challenge Metsker

There may not be a new sheriff in Johnson County, but there just may be one in the Johnson County GOP.

Former Johnson County Sheriff candidate Ken Smith announced today that he will challenge Ronnie Metsker, JC Republican Party Chair, for leadership of the county party.

Here's what Smith wrote on his Facebook page: 

In recent weeks, I have been working with leaders from Gardner, Olathe, Overland Park, Lenexa, and Mission who have asked me to step forward and run for Chair of the Johnson County Republican Party. I look forward to working with all local party organizations. The Olathe Republican Party is a great example of strong conservative leadership and I'm excited about the possibilities of the new groups coming out of Gardner and Overland Park. 
These city organizations do not compete with, but rather strengthen, the County and State party organizations.
The potential has never been greater for recruiting new leaders for precinct committeemen and committeewomen and for local government offices. I also look forward to working alongside and promoting the work of the new legislature as they advance the ideas of our pro-growth governor. I am a conservative who supports limited government, the rule of law, small business and family values. This is a team effort and I hope to earn your support. 

For what it's worth, I think Smith has an uphill battle on his hands, but I applaud his courage in stepping forward.

For the most part, Metsker has done a very good job of advancing the county party. Under his tutelage, the county party opened an office and made giant strides in Brownback's "Clean Sweep" efforts that saw every statewide office turned to GOP hands. 

I'm not sure Metsker deserves tons of credit -- the political winds were definitely at his back -- but his time and efforts can't be discounted. With those winds came a sort of transition. To my knowledge, the county party has long been dominated by so-called "moderate" Republicans. Think Dick Bond and Greg Musil and Bill Graves. (Ewww.) We've been transitioning to a more conservative party over the course of the last several years, and I also applaud Metsker's efforts to aid in that transition.

To his credit, I can't say whether Metsker is a conservative or a "moderate." And a few years ago, that's exactly the sort of personality to party needed in order to remain cohesive. 

I've mentioned before his one major flub as party chair. We'll call it The Jody Kramer Experiment. Kramer, you'll recall, served on the BOCC Charter Commission. I won't go completely into it here, but long story short: The party crafted a resolution asking all Republican members of the commission to support partisan elections for Johnson County Board of Commissioners. Kramer was placed on the board by Metsker as the appointee from the Johnson County Republican Party. Kramer led the charge, working with Democrats, to ensure that voters never got the chance to consider returning county races to partisan elections. (As a side note, one political insider once told me that allowing partisan elections to return would give certain people like Bernie Bianchino and Mike Pirner, two conservative activists who also served on the Charter Commission, a feather in their caps. And that, not partisan elections, was the real deal killer.)

Let's just say partisan elections got tossed in order to protect the perceived power of the so-called moderates. It's abominable. 

Metsker's other appointee to the charter commission, Clay Barker, the KS GOP director, was spot on. I don't want to go all Valley Girl here, but Clay is like, totally awesome. He's approachable and knowledgeable where previous directors have been pretentious.

In his Facebook announcement, Ken makes particular mention of local political parties. There's some sort of snafu regarding the creation of the Gardner and Overland Park Republican Parties. The two groups have not been recognized by the county party and there's some sort of beef there. I don't exactly get it. I'm not sure official recognition entails -- a cookie? a certificate? Both groups were basically created out of sour grapes -- they split from other groups when certain people were not given leadership roles. I typically have little respect for that sort of thing. It's like taking your ball and going home, but I don't know all the details there, so...

I have a question for Ken Smith: Will he be bringing forward alternative candidates for the other party leadership roles?

This should be a spirited, insider-y campaign, and I'm looking forward to watching the fireworks. I fully expect to be receiving phone calls in the very near future seeking my support for the candidates. The election for party leadership is scheduled for shortly after the general election. Stay tuned.