Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): More election night shocks

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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. 

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