Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Down low on the ballot Endorsements

Monday, August 6, 2012

Down low on the ballot Endorsements

There aren't any headline races appearing on the ballot tomorrow, but if you're a political junkie or you take your civic responsibility seriously, there are a few down ticket races to consider before casting your vote on Aug. 7.

If  you are one of those people who takes your civic responsibility seriously, you probably don't need my input. BUT just in case you've been far too busy watching the Kardashians to pay attention, I'm offering my endorsements for down ticket races in Johnson County.

District Attorney: Steve Howe

He doesn't have an opponent, but I may never again have a chance to tell the world what I think of Steve Howe: I don't like him. He's a jerk, but he's a conservative jerk and he doesn't have an opponent. So that makes it pretty darn easy. I can't even find a current campaign website for him, so he doesn't appear to give a rat's behind about campaigning or talking to voters, but he's all we've got.

County Sheriff: Ken Smith

I like Ken's opponent, Frank Denning, an awful lot. However, I have a few concerns about the current sheriff. First, he's pro-choice. I realize that's not the sort of issue that should matter in a sheriff's race, but every office provides a platform for a different office. That said, I would discount his questionable social views and have in the past. My second concern is the sheer amount of spending Denning advocates. You will never hear the sheriff say, we have plenty. We've spent enough. You can always count on him to have his hand out asking for additional funds.

The final straw was the permanent sales tax increase to support public safety. I thought the taxes we already paid were supposed to cover that. If they didn't, Denning should have been asking that the county re-examine its spending priorities. Public safety should top the list of county government services, and if it doesn't, the commissioners aren't doing something right. I could live with a sales tax that sunset to fund a capital project -- like the jail. But a permanent tax to fund operations that should already be funded? No.

One final concern: All things being equal, I will always support the non-establishment candidate over the long-term incumbent. Always. Like I said in a previous post,  I like Denning personally. He's a nice guy, and he really believes in the (overwhelming) spending he's done. Smith is more conservative and he has the advantage of not being a party insider. That's a point in his favor in my book.

County Commission District 3: Benjamin Hodge

I may as well forget any hope of every becoming an insider with this endorsement. Hodge is a conservative that the Establishment loves to hate. He questions everyone and everything, and that certainly doesn't make you popular with the inner circle whose motto may as well be: We Know What's Best. No Questions Allowed.

And I'll admit, sometimes his methods do border on madness. It also troubles me that I don't think he's ever had a job in the private sector. But at the end of the day, voters will never have to doubt how Hodge will vote on things like personal property rights, transparency and spending. He will vote on the side of conservatives every time.

He has three opponents and two of the four will advance to the general election in this non-partisan race. Presta is also said to be a conservative and seems like a nice guy, but I don't know enough about him to say for certain how he'll vote on any given issue. Why go with the safe unknown quantity, when you don't have to?

State School Board: Steve Roberts 

The State Board of Education is a disaster in waiting. There is no amount of money in the world that will ever fill the existing body's quench for more taxpayer dollars -- results be damned.

Roberts is a little weird, but he's very nice and is working very hard for a spot on that board. I hope his efforts pay off. He's also conservative and the only Republican in the race. To date, there is exactly one conservative on the state board.

We should add one more.

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