Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): October 2012

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.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Brownback, Roberts attend a football game

Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts attended the Kansas State/West Virginia football game this weekend. This irritates me for two very important reasons:

1. Every time I see a politician at an event like this, I can't help but wonder how much I paid for their little joy ride. (I thought the same thing when a bevy of Kansas politicians attended the Final Four in New Orleans to watch KU. I think they even had press conferences there.) I am sure someone will eventually ask what we paid, and they'll say the taxpayers didn't, but... somehow I just know the taxpayers didn't get off scot free. We paid for security or picked up the tab for some fancy meal with West Virginian dignitaries or SOMETHING. When a high ranking governmental official travels to events like this, the taxpayers get part of the bill. Annoying.

2. Excuse me guys, but when KU or K-State does well, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. Repeat that with me now: It's not about you. At all. You, sir, standing on the field or in your fancy box suite, are a distraction. These games are about the accomplishments of the athletes and the coaches -- not about you.

How much did I pay for that?

Oh, and it's not about you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

W(h)ine from sour grapes

These six turncoat Republicans are endorsing the incumbent Democrat Anthony Hensley in his race against Republican Casey Moore for the state Senate.

They include Sens. Roger Reitz, of Manhattan; Pete Brungardt, of Salina; Dwayne Umbarger, of Thayer, Jean Schodorf, of Wichita; and Ruth Teichman, of Stafford. Each and every one of them lost hard-fought primaries against actual Republicans.

The final turncoat: John Vratil of Johnson County, who saw the writing on the wall and knew his ego couldn't take losing an election. He did not run again. His hand-selected candidate, Pat Colloton, lost in the primary and now Vratil is backing the Democrat Mike Delaney over Republican Jeff Melcher in the race for his seat.

Trust me. My candidates have lost hard fought bitter political campaigns before. It is no fun to be on the losing side. However, you strap on your big boy pants and root for the home team in the general election. At the very least, you creep home and sit on the sidelines (QUIETLY) until the next campaign season. 

These loser Republicans are so much w(h)ine from sour grapes. It leaves a bad after taste.

Kansans and the Romney GOTV efforts

I'm fairly certain that everyone who would be interested in reading this blog also receives emails from the KS GOP and other statewide political sources. However, on the off chance there are readers here who aren't sure how to get involved with political activists or the party, I'm sharing a little GOTV information.

This election is the most critical of my lifetime, and Kansas is mercifully safe for Republicans and specifically conservatives. But the same can't be said for neighboring states. They could use fresh volunteers and activists on the ground during this critical campaign.

There are two efforts afoot to put Kansans on the ground in critical swing states. If you have time, please go help Team Romney in Colorado and/or in Iowa.

Here's the information I received:

COLORADO  October 26-28 
What:  Colorado trip is being planned by Randy Duncan, Michelle Martin and the KS College Republicans.  
Depart:  A carpool from Salina, will leave about 5 pm on Friday 
Return:  Sunday late afternoon/early evening.   
Contact Michelle at michelle@martinlawofficellc.com or Team Romney at Kansans4Romney@gmail.com for more info or to RSVP.

IOWA  Saturday, October 27

What:  2 large (56 person) buses drive volunteers to Council Bluffs and Des Moines, for a day of walking.   Individuals can also drive themselves & follow along.
Depart:  7:30 am:    KSGOP Victory Center, 4501 College Blvd, Leawood, KS 66211.   
Return:  About 10pm
Contact:   Team Romney at Kansans4Romney@gmail.com for more info or to RSVP.  



 "I think Obama is very narrowly ahead, and Romney is closing.  I say that for a lot of reasons, but the big one is the Republicans are doing a far better job on absentee ballots than they've ever done before.  This race feels a lot like 2000, 2004.   In 2000, Gore won by about four votes per precinct. President Bush in 2004 won by about 10 votes per precinct. So, this is really about the ground game now.  All this TV is just muzak now. It's not having much impact.   It's all about who's going to get out the last few people to go vote."

Who let the RINOs out? (Who? Who? Who?)

Apparently, the zoo decided to take the gates off of the RINO enclosure.

A group calling themselves the Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, or some nonsense, is issuing press releases again. They first made headlines back in April, when they rallied in Topeka against Sam Brownback.

(I read a blog at the time that called them the thundering herd of RINOs, and I wish I could find it again.)

As it turns out, they still exist and they're still stamping their feet and demanding our attention. This time, they're giving out awards to each other. (I imagine the group, which includes Dick Bond and Jan Meyers, shuffling around in their house slippers as they hand out acknowledgement certificates.)

If you're in the mood for a laugh, please check out the group's website and their press releases. You're welcome.


Mouth of the Month -- Steve Fitzgerald

Very rarely will you ever hear me say a politician is right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, so too are various politicians -- especially of the GOP stripe.

However, they typically don't need to be told they're right. Most of them believe they can never be wrong. Their heads are so big, it's a wonder any politician can fit through a standard doorway.

So, I'm about to say something I try very hard NOT to say.

Steve Fitzgerald is right, and this is the cause of much gnashing of teeth and disdain from the Democrats.

Fitzgerald is running for the state Senate. He handily defeated (the kinder, gentler) Mark Gilstrap in the August primary and is now going mano a mano against incumbent Democrat Kelly Kultala. Fitzgerald has lost to her before and he didn't win many friends when he said during a debate, if you're a Democrat, you can't be a Christian.

I'm no theologian, but Fitzgerald deserves a Mouth of the Month Award for his honesty. To listen to Kultala and the Democrats, you'd think Fitzgerald called them Nazis.

He stated very clear and concise reasons why, in his opinion, the Democratic Party platform and the Bible do not jibe. While it's not popular to say it, anyone who has ever been to a church that wasn't presided over by Jeremiah Wright knows that the Democrat Party is basically shaking its fist at God.

They can knock themselves out, but God is a jurist from whom there are no appeals. The Democrats who truly do hope to find favor from the man upstairs should heed the message and tread carefully.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kriegshauser replaces Owens... briefly

That's Dennis Kriegshauser, left, being sworn in to replace former Sen. Tim Owens in the Kansas Senate. His son, deputy secretary of state Ryan Kriegshauser, right, does the honors. Owens lost a primary to Jim Denning in August and stepped down from his role in office.

This is a little late, but there have been other more important things going on. Anyway, in a largely ceremonial move, Dennis was selected for office last week. He'll serve for a few short months. As is maybe obvious by the photo, Dennis is well connected.

His son is the second-in-command in Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office. His daughter-in-law, Christie Kriegshauser, works as a legislative director in the Kansas Legislature.

Dennis ran and lost a narrow election for a seat in the Kansas House in 2007. The 2-vote loss almost erupted into a full blown crisis until Dennis withdrew his candidacy. (Yeah, I'd say some people owe him, and this brief seating in the Kansas Senate may be part of the pay back.)

GOP precinct people unanimously elected Dennis into Owens' seat. Dennis will be replaced when new Senators are elected and sworn in. In the race for Kreigshauser's seat are Republican Jim Denning and Democrat Lisa Johnston.

Steve Abrams running for Senate President

Steve Abrams of Arkansas City, Kan. has thrown his hat into the ring for Kansas Senate President. He has

Abrams will face Susan Wagle, of Wichita. Wagle must first win her election. Abrams is unopposed in the general election on Nov. 6.

Both vie to replace outgoing Sen. President Steve Morris. Morris, RINO, lost in his primary bid to a conservative. The newly-elected Senate will choose its leadership in December.

I do not have my finger on the pulse of this contest between Abrams and Wagle. However, here is what Abrams had to say about running for the leadership role:

"This changing of Senate leadership represents a kind of changing of the guard as well. In times like these there are often calls for political retribution and score settling, but if my colleagues choose to elect me as President, I will insist on civility. My Dad always told me that 'grown-ups can disagree without being disagreeable', I think that's the way it should be in the Senate. However, it would be a serious mistake to confuse my cordial attitude for a lack of commitment to a genuinely conservative and businesslike direction for the Senate. I know I speak for all the re-elected and newly elected conservative senators from around the state when I say this new Senate and its leadership is dedicated to the cause of a more accountable and efficient Kansas that provides quality services to its citizens, while providing a pro-growth economic environment for the future. We look forward to partnering with Governor Brownback and the House in this effort."

Hayden, Toplikar heating up

I'm not sure what to think.

Had you asked me two weeks ago who was going to take the race for the 6th District seat on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, I would've said Calvin Hayden, hands down. My Magic 8 Ball™ was clearly stating, "All signs point to yes" for a Hayden victory.

There appear to be more Hayden signs out -- even in areas that I didn't even know were part of the 6th District. And Hayden has been actively campaigning since the primary election. I've only seen one John Toplikar sign, but I assume there are more signs out down south. Toplikar's website hasn't even been updated. It is devoted to his failed run for county commission chair in 2010.

The quiet story behind the Hayden-Toplikar rematch is the sign-stealing drama from 2008. In '08, Hayden's wife hid in the bushes to videotape Toplikar stealing yard signs near the election office. 

Law enforcement -- Hayden is retired JoCo sheriff's deputy -- threw the book at Toplikar and in the end, Toplikar, the incumbent, lost the election by 42 votes. To this day, I still believe there was a set-up afoot, but Toplikar was a fool for touching another candidate's signs. (Campaign tip: The only time you should ever CONSIDER touching another candidate's sign is if it is on fire and in danger of killing an infant or puppy. Otherwise, hands off.)

Yael Alboulhalkah of the Kansas City Star theorized on Twitter last night that Hayden's narrow victory was the result of the Star's 2008 endorsement. (I'm assuming this was tongue-in-cheek, because seriously, who votes based on a newspaper editorial?)

And since we're on the topic of endorsements, the Star once again is endorsing Hayden for the board of commissioners. This is the kiss of death for conservatives, of which Hayden claims to be. In the race for 3rd District, the Star endorsed Steve Klika over Terry Presta. Klika is a RINO. Presta is not. So, the choice is fairly obvious.

Will the endorsement hurt Hayden's chances at retaining his seat?

I'm not sure. But it does seem the Hayden campaign is a bit shaken in the last two weeks. They're bumping up their campaign efforts in ways that seem a little desperate given what I assumed was going to be an easy victory.

I don't think the campaign's renewed vigor has much to do with the Star's endorsement. However, I've heard the Kansans for Life intends to endorse Toplikar in the race. That's cause for concern. While I personally believe they've shamed themselves, it will be a few years before the voting public recognizes the organization now puts power over principle. Until that occurs, the group's endorsement is worth thousands of votes.

Just ask Frank Denning, who narrowly retained his role as county sheriff, what their endorsement means. In his primary race, KFL endorsed his unknown opponent, Ken Smith. An outspent, unknown Smith fell short of winning that race but just barely. I think KFL's endorsement is one reason Smith came so close.

But I digress -- back to Hayden-Toplikar. I'm glad I don't have to vote in this race. Toplikar is clearly the more conservative of the two. However, he is inaccessible to constituents, and that's a problem.

Update: As anticipated, Kansans for Life has endorsed Toplikar over Hayden. I'm not going to link to their site, because they are no longer a principled organization.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who NOT to vote for

Reasonable, common sense candidates for the Kansas House breathed a sigh of relief this weekend after the Kansas City Star's editorial board stuck to its longstanding tradition of endorsing candidates with the fewer brain cells.

There was a smidgeon of concern that the KC Star, in a quest to identify with its audience, would endorse right-thinking candidates jinxing them for life.

But, conservatives avoided that disaster when the Star printed a handy list of candidates NOT to vote for.

I personally recommend taking this handy voter guide into the polls with you and marking the box next to every name that didn't make the cut. Of course, readers of this handy blog are too smart to base their votes on a newspaper editorial, but your friends probably aren't. I suggest printing several copies for confused friends. Just tell them, these are the candidates to avoid.

Update: I don't know how I missed this, but voters can also find a list of Senate candidates endorsed by the Star. In an amazing turn of events, (OK, not really) the Star is endorsing only Democrats in Kansas Senate races.

It's obviously going to be a real nail biter to see who the Star endorses for President. I am on pins and needles. The suspense is killing me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

House leadership

From what I've heard, there are three Johnson County gents who intend to run for Speaker of the Kansas House.

They are: Rep. Arlen Siegfried, Rep. Lance Kinzer, and Rep. Ray Merrick.

Those who are elected to the Kansas House on Nov. 6 will be tasked with choosing leadership in the House, and it's anyone's game considering there will be so many new faces in Topeka when the dust settles.

One thing is certain: the candidate with Gov. Brownback's support will have the upper hand. While I highly, highly doubt the Governor will broadcast who he supports publicly, you can bet his minions including PACs and staffers will be quietly letting the newly-elected know who the Governor wants to win.

Rumor has it, the Governor will be backing Lance Kinzer. I think this is daft. Of the three (that I know of) who are running, Kinzer is the least qualified. Nice guy. Not ready.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

28 Days Later...

There are now 27 days until the general election.

There are a number of secondary campaigns occurring beneath the surface of the general election. One, of course, is the stealthy battle for who will hold leadership positions in the Kansas House and Senate. The other is a less visible campaign, in which the grassroots party faithful will select the winners and losers.

On day 28, there will be at least two Republican winners who will resign from their posts as state legislators. They will be replaced by Republican precinct committeemen and committee women.

Those campaigns are already very, very quietly underway.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Awww, man...

Scooped by Hawver. I had heard Rep. Marc Rhoades wanted to run for House Majority Leader in the upcoming session, but have been so busy spreading rumors about other stuff on here that I forgot to mention it.

I guess I'll let that be a lesson. Hawver has ears on the ground and paid subscribers to feed. And he gets his scoop.

Anyway, Rhoades is going to run for House Majority Leader. He'll face Jene Vickrey. I don't really know Rhoades, but am a fan of Vickrey. (He's a little moderate for my tastes, but seems less back-stabby than a lot of the other folks in Topeka.)

And lest I forget to mention it later, candidates for House Speaker include:

Rep. Arlen Siegfried
Rep. Ray Merrick
Rep. Lance Kinzer

Or so I've heard. All three are from the Golden Ghetto, which should decisively split the JoCo block. Surely there's someone from out west who wants the role as well. It will be interesting.

Of the three, I don't have a favorite, but I guess if you twisted my arm, I'd pick Merrick. I think.

Good News

Thanks to a suggestion, I've enabled visitors to this website to comment anonymously. And yes, I feel like a Captain of Industry, because I used my mad internet skills to accomplish this stunning feat of digital acumen.

So comment away, if you so choose, peeps. For now, I will not edit or censor any commentary. BUT please keep it clean.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Metsker will be challenged

Johnson County Republican Party Chair Ronnie Metsker will have a challenger at the end of this year. Metsker has served as the chair of the party since 2008. Before that, he was a state representative from 2006 -2008.

Rumor has it, a conservative will challenge Metsker's leadership.

I've praised Metsker in the past. For the most part, he has done a stellar job of making the JCRP headquarters a welcoming place for conservatives and moderates alike. This is no easy task.

That said, I would personally prefer that the county party's leader be more conservative. For the most part, Metsker's role is of little consequence to the everyday man on the street. However, Metsker is charged with filling open precinct committee spots, and those decisions can be critical. When a representative leaves office, the precinct people appoint the replacement. There have been dozens of replacements across the state in the last few years as Gov. Brownback has snapped up sitting legislators for roles in his administration. Metsker has appointed many of the people who appointed Johnson County replacements.

More importantly to the rank and file, Metsker was tasked with making two appointments to the Johnson County Charter Commission in 2011. The charter commission examined the Johnson County Charter and considered putting changes to it in front of voters. Specifically, the Third District Republican Party passed a resolution asking all Republicans on the Charter Commission to support a change from non-partisan county commission elections to partisan elections.

One of Metsker's appointees led the charge against a change to partisan elections. That's right. One of two people appointed by the Republican Party itself voted AGAINST a resolution specifically supported by the party. In fact, she led the charge against moving to partisan elections making the original movement against it and another motion to shut down debate.

Long story short: Nonpartisan elections will continue and those elections favor the more moderate candidates. It was a real slap in the face to movement conservatives, and it can be laid right at the feet of Ronnie Metsker. He flubbed it spectacularly. 

While I appreciate Metsker's role in bringing the party together, I believe a conservative can do the same. I'm anxious to hear just who this challenger is.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pretentious ALERT -- Lynn Jenkins

As regular readers of this blog may be aware, I detest pretentiousness, like A LOT.

So, I was disappointed to see this story in the Lawrence Journal World about Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins: "Jenkins says Schlingensiepen should apologize to her for comment."

In person, Jenkins is about as unpretentious as they come. Maybe that's just a reaction to her stature -- she's teeny, tiny. But I don't think so. In person, she's genuine and down-to-earth.

There are two phrases on my list that automatically brand a person with the a scarlet 'P' for pretentious.

The first, I call the Algore, or dykwia. In layman's terms: Do you know who I am?

If you are ever tempted to utter these words, go home to your mom and ask her about that time you peed your pants in seventh grade in front of the entire class. Or about how you wet your bed until you were a sophomore. If you've said those words out loud, you need to be brought back down to earth --STAT.

You, politician or pretentious ass hat, that says such a thing are a nobody. You, no matter your position or title, are no better than anyone else on this earth.You were designed by the same Creator as every other creature on this planet with the same capabilities for sin and light. And you should keep that in mind.

The second cringeworthy phrase: I demand (expect) an apology. (I have a person's name that I mentally deem this phrase. She's a very politically active donor on this end of the state, and she is constantly demanding someone apologize to her or someone else. But because she's a private citizen, I'll spare you the name.)

Oh puhlease. Would you listen to yourself? Yes, there are times when someone should apologize, but you, person falsely offended, aren't the determiner. For an apology to mean anything, it must come from the heart of the offender.

Now that I've cleared that up, Jenkins wants Schlingensiepen to apologize for saying something about money in politics. What he said may have been below the belt -- I don't think it was -- but this is politics. It's time to man up and lodge an actual defense. Demanding an apology is both pretentious and playing the victim card not to mention decidedly unbecoming.

Final note for any Democrats who mosey over to this site -- the definition of pretentious, courtesy of The Free Dictionary:
pre·ten·tious  (pr-tnshs)
1. Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
2. Making or marked by an extravagant outward show; ostentatious. See Synonyms at showy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

KFL... Losing donors?

Apparently, a few big, regular donors to the Kansans for Life PAC are withdrawing their support from the organization. Their reasons are two-fold:

1. They've lost confidence in Mary Kay Culp, the organization's executive director.

She can be incredibly off-putting, and she doesn't always think before she speaks. It's not that she isn't a soldier for the cause, it's that occasionally, her soldiering drives away support. (You should hear some of the things I've heard that she has said to supporters. Beyond the pale, but I've never heard them personally, so I won't recount those tales.)

2. The organization has cashed in its principles and is going all-in for power.

Before the primary election in August, I wrote about how the PAC didn't follow its own endorsement rules. In the past, they've given preference to incumbents and offered dual endorsements in races where two or more candidates were pro-life. In the last election, they threw all of that out the window, and it appears, based their endorsements solely on who they could personally control. (You can read all about it here.)

That probably could've been overlooked or forgiven by some donors had they stopped there. However, shortly before the election, they followed up their endorsements with robocalls that basically called all candidates who said they were pro-life without their endorsements liars. I thought it was disgusting. I don't know how you can call people like Trent LeDoux, a House candidate in Manhattan, or LeEtta Felter, a school board candidate from Olathe, anything but pro-life. Damaging the reputations of people with impeccable pro-life credentials to further your own politics is shameful. I'd go one step further and call it immoral at best and sinful at worst.

After any hard fought election, and especially the primary with its last-minute boundary upheavals, a PAC is bound to take a few hits. There will be hard feelings. This time, they may have gone too far, however. Their final phone call was false and slanderous.

Ultimately, I do not know if this election has damaged the PAC's bottom line. Maybe the people they threw their whole-hearted support behind are energized to work even harder and donate even more on behalf of Kansans for Life. But I doubt it.

When you make a deals with the devil, he always takes his cut. We may not know the full extent until much later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Least shocking news of the year

In a stunning turn of events, I mean, NO ONE saw this coming, soon-to-be former Sens. John Vratil and Tim Owens are endorsing the Democrats in races for their seats.

Let me tell you, the reverberations from this stunning development will be felt from here to, well, nowhere.

I think my favorite part of this Steve Rose piece is that he chalks the turncoats' actions up to "unusual times." Um. No. These men never subscribed to the principles of limited government that are a staple of the Republican Party.

These two are nothing but donkeys in elephants' clothing, and their senseless endorsements are sour grapes.

And while we're on the topic of so-called "moderates," would someone kindly explain what that means? Because I'm pretty certain it means they call themselves Republicans and they're A-OK with knifing unborn babies in the back of the head. That seems awfully extreme to me.

Good riddance to RINOs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


A prediction: There are certain candidates who won't be going back to the Statehouse, regardless of the outcome of the election.  And there are certain people who we all thought were long gone from the Legislature who may be returning in different capacities.

I'd like to say more, but I think it would actually be irresponsible. I'm just going to say, stay tuned.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sigh. The Kansas Chamber

There goes the Kansas Chamber again, thinking people give a rat's behind about their concerns. 

In a move that should surprise only those who've been living a la Ted Kaczynksi, the Chamber has offered its (probably) exclusively Republican-only endorsements for the upcoming elections.

This is stupid, and I'll tell you why:

1. No one cares. Anyone caught carrying the Chamber's endorsement list into a polling booth should be shot, or at least apprehended until after the polls close. If you don't know who to vote for without the Chamber's assistance, please do the world a favor and do not vote.

2. The Chamber PAC is wasting its time. With rare exception, the Kansas 2012 election was decided in early August. Why bother sending out this list?

3. Why bother sending out this list? To my knowledge, the Chamber PAC didn't even send out questionnaires to the candidates. If they were only endorsing in races where one or both of the candidates had voting records, that would be understandable. But that's not what we have here. It's as if they just selected candidates out of thin air. (Or more likely, from Brownback's head, but whatevs.) 

I like and prefer virtually every candidate on this list and hope they win. That said, the Chamber PAC does itself a disservice by not actually researching the candidates. The entire point of an endorsement is having actual knowledge of the players at hand, and I know for a fact they do not in every race. This makes their endorsement meaningless. They may as well just flip a coin.

The Chamber PAC fluffed up its endorsement press release with some comments about how these candidates are pro-smaller government and pro- private sector growth. But again, I ask: How would those boneheads know?

If you care, here's who the Chamber supports:

    Kansas House of Representatives

J. Stephen Alford
Larry Alley
Erica Anderson
John Barker
Sue Boldra
Benny L. Boman
John Bradford
Marla Brems
Rob Bruchman
Steven R. Brunk
Tony Bukaty 
Mike Burgess
Richard Carlson
Will Carpenter
Ward Cassidy 
Marshall Christmann
JR Claeys
Susan Concannon
Ken Corbet
Travis Couture-Lovelady
David Crum
Peter DeGraaf
Willie Dove
John Edmonds
Joe Edwards
Keith Esau
John Ewy
Randy Garber
Tim Garvey
Mario Goico
Ramon Gonzalez Jr.
Jana Taylor Goodman
Amanda Grosserode
Dan Hawkins 
Dennis Hedke
Phil Hermanson
Ron Highland 
Brett Hildabrand
Kyle D. Hoffman
Mike Houser
Jim Howell
Michelle Hucke
Steve Huebert
Mark Hutton
Steven C. Johnson
Kevin Jones
Mark Kahrs
Kasha Kelley
Jim Kelly
Lance Kinzer
Marvin Kleeb
Brenda K. Landwehr
Rick Lindsey
Jeff Locke
Jerry Lunn
Charles Macheers
Peggy Mast 
Craig McPherson
Kelly Meigs
Ray Merrick
Janet Mitchell
Lee Modesitt
Robert (Bob) Montgomery
Becky Nioce  
Connie O'Brien
Leslie Osterman
Virgil Peck
Reid Petty
Joshua Powell 
Richard Proehl
Marty Read 
Marc Rhoades
Aimee Rosenow
Allan Rothlisberg
John Rubin
Ron Ryckman
Ron Ryckman Jr.  
Joseph Scapa
Don Schroeder
Scott Schwab
Sharon Schwartz 
Shawn Shipp
Clark Shultz
Arlen H. Siegfreid
Joe Siewert 
John Stevens
Gene Suellentrop
Bill Sutton
Jack Thimesch
James Todd
Jene Vickrey
Chris Waldschmidt
Troy Waymaster 
Brian Weber
                                                             Kansas Senate

Steve Abrams
Pat Apple
Tom Arpke  
Dick Barta
Elaine Bowers
Anthony Brown
Terry Bruce
Kenya Cox
Jim Denning
Les Donovan
Ron Ellis  
Steve Fitzgerald   
Mitch Holmes
Dan Kerschen
Jeff King
Forrest Knox
Jake LaTurner
Garrett Love
Julia Lynn   
Ty Masterson
Jeff Melcher  
Casey Moore 
Michael O'Donnell
Rob Olson    
Ralph Ostmeyer  
Mike Petersen
Mary Pilcher Cook
Larry R. Powell
Dennis Pyle
Bob Reader
Greg A. Smith 
Chris Steineger
Caryn Tyson
Susan Wagle
Joe Ward