Incumbent Gov. Mike Hayden said today that a new media poll showing challenger Nestor Weigand has overtaken him is an unscientific sampling of the electorate that nevertheless will prompt more Republicans to vote for the governor.
"The poll is not done on a scientific basis," Hayden said during a campaign interview with the Journal-World. "The poll you just cited heavily, heavily oversampled the urban area. We can see that we're not going to win Johnson County.
"That same poll said Robert Allen Peck is going to beat Eric Rucker for state treasurer. Everybody who believes that, please rise. Four years ago pollsters predicted what would happen. People said, `Hayden can't win.' What happened election night?"
The poll, released Wednesday, gave Weigand a 6-point lead over Hayden, 41 percent to 35 percent, with Richard Peckham receiving 5 percent and three other candidates less than 1 percent each. Eighteen percent of the 336 likely GOP voters were undecided.
THE POLL was sponsored by the Pittsburg Morning Sun, WDAF in Kansas City, KTKA in Topeka and KSNW in Wichita. It showed John Carlin leading Joan Finney 46-25 in the Democratic primary with Fred Phelps getting 4 percent of the vote and 25 percent undecided.
It was the first media poll showing Weigand with a lead over Hayden. A poll sponsored by the Kansas City Star and three TV stations July 21 had Hayden in front by 13 points and a Wichita Eagle poll last Sunday had Hayden in front by 5 points.
Hayden said as various reports indicate Tuesday's primary for the GOP gubernatorial nomination will be close, "you see greater and greater interest among our supporters in getting to the polls."
"These polls have stimulated our people to get out. At first they thought Mike didn't even have a race," he said. "And now as it gets closer, they're saying we're going to get to the polls to help Mike out."
IN RESPONSE to a question, Hayden defended the Republican Party's decision to deny Weigand a list of registered Republicans in the state. He said Weigand hasn't done much for the party in Kansas and the party should respond in kind.
"If Donald Trump ran against (Sen.) Nancy Kassebaum, would the Kansas Republican Party give him their registration list? I would hope they wouldn't. We're supporting Nancy Kassebaum because she's our incumbent Republican senator.
"She has paid her dues to the party. She's served the party. If the party can't be loyal to those who have been loyal to it, how can the party possibly be worth anything? You go with them who brung ya'," the governor said.
Hayden said the main theme he wants to elaborate on during a public television debate tonight with the other GOP candidates will be that he is an experienced politician who has demonstrated his ability to run a state government.
"I'M RUNNING against an opponent who doesn't bring anything to this campaign except $1 million and one issue," he said, pounding his fist on a table. "This is a guy who has outspent us, outborrowed us and who is a demagogue on taxes.
"He has never addressed what he's going to do about higher education, the environment and health care. One-issue candidates with a lot of money have never bought the governorship in (Kansas') history. That's our message," Hayden said.
The governor said that Kansas University faculty should vote for him because "when Mike Hayden was governor they had the two best years they've ever had during the history of the university as far as funding is concerned."
"Nestor Weigand graduated from Harvard. He sent his kids to a private school. Mike Hayden graduated from two state universities in Kansas and he sends his kids to a public school. Now, who's really the education candidate?" he said.
KU STUDENTS should support him despite crowded classes and spiraling tuition because "higher education in Kansas is the best bargain the students ever had. It's a hell of a bargain here. They can get a good education here at very reasonable cost."
Hayden said his voting record during 14 years in the Kansas Legislature proves that he deserves the support of big business. During his stint in the Kansas House, the governor said, he voted "pro-business" 76 percent of the time.
"What's happended while Mike Hayden has been governor? 105,000 new jobs in this state. Where's unemployment? Below 3.5 percent, the lowest in recent memory. Mike Hayden is a pro-business governor. He's going to be a pro-business governor."
HAYDEN SAID small business owners ought to help him, because he has the best solution to the problem of rising property taxes. Although he supported statewide reappraisal, Kansas government must reduce its reliance on property taxes.
"The problem is not reappraisal. The problem is twofold. One is the classification amendment set the (tax) rate for business too high. The other problem is our over-reliance on property taxes," said Hayden, adding sales taxes should be raised.