Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): April 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Farewell Party for Gov. Brownback in the Works

While everyone is still quietly wondering whether Rome beckons Gov. Brownback to the east, a party at Cedar Crest is quietly in the works.

Former Brownback staffers from his days in the U.S. House and Senate are invited. Many are making plans to stop through Kansas and make an appearance. Former staffers from his first term as Governor will attend. The big event is set to occur soon at Cedar Crest, the Governor's residence.

No one is calling it a farewell party, but it certainly sounds a lot like one. If I liked to waste money betting on things, I'd place a chunk of change on the Governor stepping aside once this session is over. 

All of you legislators breathlessly awaiting his departure can speed it along by wrapping things up. As you consider that, please note that in my opinion, he's sticking around long enough to make sure you don't ruin everything. So, make some decent decisions to wrap up the session and you will likely find yourselves starting anew with a fresh face behind the veto pen.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hug a Democrat Today and Tomorrow

Kansas Republicans are lucky, because the Kansas Democratic Party is pretty much incompetent. This bodes well for the special election to replace CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the U.S. Congress. Thank goodness. 

Without the help of a severely wounded Democratic Party, there's a real risk Republicans could lose the Fourth Congressional District. So hug a Democrat today, and thank them.

Here's the quick state of the race down in Wichita between a guy who spent $250 of campaign money on a razor # 2 haircut (ahem. James Thompson) and Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes:

1. It looked really, really bad until late last week. As of close of business on Thursday, April 6, Democrats had a 464 lead in advanced ballot requests. That was trending in the right direction at the close of last week, but there's no excuse for a gap in the left direction.

2. At close of day on April 6, Democrats had a three ballot lead in advanced ballots returned. 

3. While polls made public look good for the Estes campaign, every poll I've seen printed shows the Estes campaign moving in the wrong direction. Those polls still show a sizable Estes lead, but that lead continues to shrink. And let's chat a second about undisclosed polls: One such undisclosed poll (from a few weeks ago) showed Estes has only a 1 percent lead among likely voters who could name the day of the special election! 


3. The lone bright spot for Republicans in this messy election is registered Republican advanced in-person voters out-voted Democrats by more than 1,300 as of April 6. 

That cushion isn't enough for me to feel comfortable, and it appears Democrats smell blood in the water. Their base is clearly a LOT more energized than ours, and in a special election, that could be the difference. Fortunately, the Democrats seem incapable of capitalizing on that advantage.

The Dems' troubles started the second Democratic delegates selected James A. Thompson as their standard bearer. Thompson hails from the Bernie segment of the party, also known as the socialist wing. Dems had other options. I was actually afraid of Dennis McKinney, a former state treasurer who is pro-life. (Wichita is perhaps the most pro-life part of a very pro-life state.) But party insiders voted for the Bernie guy who was instantly and loudly endorsed by Planned Parenthood. (These are the same folks disrupting town halls across the nation, screaming and wearing genital costumes on their heads, so you know, kind of not Kansas-like at all, so...)

And then Dems began campaigning. So far, it appears their campaign efforts involve attending every forum hosted by the League of Women voters and other leftist organizations and then complaining that Estes didn't show up, vandalizing signs, and vandalizing the Estes campaign office. Oh, and then complaining about a commercial that factually reveals Thompson supports abortion on demand for any reason.

The state party and the Thompson campaign publicly exchanged barbs after the Kansas Democratic Party refused to give the campaign $20,000. The state party admitted it didn't have the money! They said that out loud! 

It's odd that the Thompson campaign requested $20,000 for mailers rather than the party sending mailers on behalf of the campaign. It costs less for the party to mail than it does for the campaign. So strange. 

And I just want to reiterate, this is a campaign that spent $250 on a haircut. (I don't even... for context, I have unusual hair. I get it colored, cut, and styled every six weeks at a mid-priced salon. I pay $120. That's with tip!! Sometimes I add on the $40 blow dry. If someone charged Thompson $40 for a blow out, he should demand a refund. It's ridiculous, and it gives a great indication of how careful the candidate is with other people's money!! When your advertising dollars are in short supply, you don't blow a few hundies on a haircut! How frivolous.)

Meanwhile, the national Democratic party is sitting on the sidelines. 

Estes is likely to win this race, but it isn't because the Republicans ran a great campaign. I'm watching from other end of the state, so caveat emptor. From here, it looks a bit dismal. Trump won the Fourth Congressional District by 27 points. It is the most conservative district in red Kansas by a long, long way. And for that reason, I think Estes pulls it out. However, unless he can snatch a double-digit victory from the jaws of defeat, he's looking at a nasty, virulent primary in 2018. He'll have to campaign better next time, or his Congressional efforts will be short-lived.

Estes was always going to face a primary in 2018, but without a big win tomorrow, he'll face a crowded and vicious one. The only person I hear running in 2018 is Susan Wagle. I put her chances at success at near zero percent, but she won't be alone in that race. Starting April 12, Estes should watch his back.

When Estes pulls out this win tomorrow, we probably ought to thank Democrats for being so inept. This was theirs to lose, and it appears they'll do just that. Thanks!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Rep. Fred Patton Needs Your Help

Rep. Fred Patton is under fire as a wobbly squish. The good news is you can help the Topeka legislator find his backbone. 

Patton went a bit wobbly this weekend, telling people at a forum that he was torn on his votes against Medicaid expansion. (If the people at that forum were anything like the people who attended a forum I went to this weekend, the event mirrored a hippie drum circle--only instead of going shirtless, the attendees wore hats that are supposed to look like genitals and carried giant Planned Parenthood signs.)

Of course, that sort of aggressive protesting masquerading as constituent outrage can be persuasive, so Patton needs to hear from the level-headed folks prior to a House veto override vote on expansion. That may come as early as today.

Lobbyists tell me that if Patton becomes the tie-breaker in the House--which he has set himself up to become (bafflingly)--he'll vote to override Brownback's veto.

Here's some information to use in your emails and calls to Patton's office. 

First--Kansas can't afford to expand Medicaid. Of the 31 states to expand, guess how many spent more than projected on the expansion? If you guessed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, you're correct. In fact, the average overrun in the 31 expansion states was 110 percent. It's laughable to think Kansas will somehow be different.

Second--the Kansas Republican Party platform specifically opposes Medicaid expansion in Kansas and any efforts to expand Obamacare nationwide. Many make the argument that Republicans control the U.S. House, Senate, and Presidency specifically because of the disaster known as Obamacare. Patton is a Republican, and Republican voters have a right to expect him to act like one.

Finally, many are reporting that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis won Patton's district in 2014. They're leaving out a pretty significant part of that story: Guess which candidate won Patton's county in the 2016 Presidential election? That would be President Donald Trump by more than 2,000 votes. Even more telling, the third party candidate to receive the most votes in that district was Gary Johnson--the libertarian candidate. Johnson earned 3,400 votes to Jill Stein's--the leftist near socialist candidate-1,700 votes. This tells any thinking person that Patton's district skews right in ways the mainstream media would rather not report.

Either way, Patton needs to hear from the reasonable adults in the room. Please reach out today as this vote could happen soon.

So, friends, give him a call and tell him the silent majority (and the party Patton says he belongs to) supports fiscal responsibility and small government.

Here's his phone number and email address:


I also recommend a few well-timed, but polite, tweets to @FredPattonKS. Don't forget the hashtag: #ksleg