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Archive for Monday, July 29, 1996

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July 29, 1996

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A moderate-conservative split in the Republican Party is a major factor in the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary.

U.S. Rep. Jan Meyers' decision not to run for a seventh two-year term opened up a floodgate: Six Republicans want to fill her seat in Congress.

However, most political observers think the main contest in the Aug. 6 GOP primary is between two candidates.

They are Ed Eilert, a moderate and the mayor of Overland Park, and Vince Snowbarger, a conservative and the majority leader of the state House of Representatives.

Both are experienced. Both have well-funded campaigns. And their organizations are expected to be the key to the race.

The winner of the GOP race is expected to face Democrat Judy Hancock in the Nov. 5 general election.

Hancock, an international trade attorney who lost to Mrs. Meyers two years ago, is well funded and has a strong organization. Hancock faces political newcomer Preston Conner, an advocate for part-time and temporary employees, in the Democratic primary.

The 3rd District encompasses all of Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte counties and most of Douglas County, including Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin.

The 3rd District GOP race has been seen as a power struggle between traditional moderates attracted to the Eilert camp and activist conservatives and anti-abortion voters attracted to the Snowbarger camp.

While Eilert has stressed economic issues, Snowbarger has pointed out the differences between the two of them on social issues and on the philosophy of government.

Snowbarger says he wants to downsize the federal government, turning control back to the states.

Eilert points to his background of helping to keep taxes low in Overland Park that has helped the city's economy to prosper.

Eilert is the best funded. He has raised $221,000 to Snowbarger's $86,000.

Greg Schoofs, 27, a former aide to Mrs. Meyers, has raised $31,000 in his quest for the seat. And because he favors a flat tax, he has received an endorsement from Steve Forbes, the former GOP presidential candidate.

A Douglas County resident, Richard "Rode" Rodewald, who has been active in property tax issues, is also on the GOP ballot. Rodewald challenged Bob Dole for the Senate GOP nomination in 1992 and got 19.6 percent of the vote.

The other GOP candidates are Bonnie Rahimian, a former college English teacher, and Anne Lyddon, a real estate broker and former school teacher.

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