Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Gilstraps and Democrats

Thursday, July 26, 2012

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.

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