Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Guy Who May Not Actually Know Any Republicans Attempts to Handicap GOP Race

Friday, March 23, 2018

Guy Who May Not Actually Know Any Republicans Attempts to Handicap GOP Race

Serious question: Have Steve Kraske or his affable side kick from Lawrence ever met an actual Republican voter?

My guess, based on a recent column, is no. I want to preface everything I'm about to say with this: Contrary to what you may have heard, I don't have a horse in the Kansas Governor's race. I really like the GOP candidates, and I have grave concerns about each of them. (And if you're all lucky, maybe I'll regale you with Deep Thoughts on the topic in the future.)

In the meantime, Kraske's most recent effort at handicapping the race is just laughable.  Kraske theorizes, accurately, that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was likely the man to beat in the GOP primary for Governor. 

"Suddenly, though, January morphed into March, and Kobach is looking nothing like King Kong," Kraske breathlessly tells readers.

Everyone with two functioning brain cells knew the race would tighten when Colyer became Governor, based on the advantages of incumbency. When some of the candidates dropped out of the crowded race, the field was bound to narrow further. That one is based on math.

Kraske quotes an old poll conducted on Feb. 13 and 14 that found Gov. Jeff Colyer with a lead within the margin of error of 23 percent to Kobach's 21 percent. The poll included other candidates like Wink Hartman and Mark Hutton who have dropped out. And it was taken at the height of positive coverage for Colyer. He had just taken the Governor's office less than two weeks earlier. Since then, Hartman, who polled at 5 percent, has become Kobach's running mate. Does Kobach pick up that 5 percent? It's tough to say, but my gut says probably. A more recent poll suggests that too. 

Kraske's other exhibits for his thesis is Kobach's last campaign finance report. Kobach was lighter on funds than other candidates. Here again, that's yesterday's news. Kobach just named one of the state's wealthiest people as his running mate. Hartman was willing to ply his own campaign with $1.6 million of his own money. Will he drop a cool million into a joint ticket? Who knows? It's a plot twist that shouldn't be overlooked by Kraske and his faithful professorial sidekick. The money game is different today than it was back in January.

Kraske's final point is that Kobach's recent trial versus the ACLU went poorly, and here is where it starts to become obvious that the columnist is just penciling a tome of wistful thinking: No one except a handful of journalists and the "resistance" paid any attention to that trial. (Full disclosure: One of the attorneys involved once represented me in a legal matter.) Most members of the "resistance" aren't voting in the Republican primary.

Republican voters weren't following along that trial trying to choose a gubernatorial horse in the race. Republican voters aren't breathlessly awaiting a verdict. They paid about as much attention to the media coverage of that trial as I pay to American Idol. (Is that show still even a thing?)

No matter how that particular event shakes out, it will be a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it save for Bryan Lowry. 

Why do I have this picture of a young Lowry? I don't know. Someone sent it to me a few years ago. 

The idea that a stampede of Republican voters is going to base their votes on it is ridiculous. It is, however, likely to be mentioned in every story about Kobach until the end of time. 

The Star columnist glosses over a recent poll, released by the Kobach campaign so grain of salt etc., that found 31 percent of likely voters choose Kobach to 18 percent for Colyer. Its margin of error is 4.4 percent. 

That poll was conducted between March 15 and 17. It's a lot fresher than the poll on which Kraske hangs his hat. It suggests that 36 percent of those polled are still undecided in the race. Those are the likely targets of Kraske's pitch, but most Republican voters--especially those who vote in midterm primary elections--don't pick up the Star all that often. 

Bottom line: It's a little early to make sweeping generalizations about the state of the GOP race, especially if you're someone who doesn't know any actual Republican voters.

1 comment:

  1. The Fish v Kobach trial was fascinating and I'm glad I attended. I encouraged conservative voters throughout the trial to attend if possible, and I certainly hope it informs their vote in August.

    It should.

    He was unprepared, disorganized, and defended his position badly. His expert witnesses failed to support his claims, and in fact at one point, contradicted a key claim.

    If conservatives support the SAFE Act, I think they should be very disappointed in Mr. Kobach's defense of it in court.

    I'm bracing for a raft of fact-free claims of judicial bias in the event that Judge Robinson finds him in contempt.

    I implore smart conservatives to not be fooled into believing the press or the judiciary is biased simply because a guy with an (R) behind his name came off badly. Having attended the majority of the trial, I can assure you: he came off badly alone his own.