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Archive for Thursday, April 30, 1998

GOP RIVALRY

April 30, 1998

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A primary election bid by David Miller of Eudora may cause some harmful splits in the Kansas Republican Party.

According to several news reports, David Miller, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, intends to seek the GOP nomination for governor.

Miller, a resident of Eudora, has not confirmed these reports, but he plans to hold a news conference next week to announce whether he will challenge Gov. Bill Graves for the nomination.

It is suggested Miller and his supporters do not think Graves has been sufficiently conservative in his political philosophy. Miller is looked upon as more conservative and, as state GOP chairman, he has helped build a powerful political base throughout the state. It is well-organized, and those in the Miller camp are hard and determined workers.

If Miller does indeed challenge Graves, it is sure to be a tough and possibly mean campaign that could severely damage the Kansas Republican Party. Such a split within Kansas GOP ranks could give Democrats a huge boost in their efforts to capture one or more of the congressional seats that will be up for grabs in November.

Some observers suggest Dwight Sutherland Jr., the Kansas GOP national committeeman from Mission Hills, is supporting Miller and will declare his backing for the Eudora insurance salesman. This is wrong. It is not wrong for Sutherland to be supportive of Miller in private, but, as a national committeeman, his role at the primary election level should be to support both candidates, urge Republicans to get out and vote for the candidate of their choice and have all candidates run strong campaigns.

Sutherland then should devote his time and energy to trying to heal wounds opened in the primary and urging unified support for the winning GOP candidate in his or her battle to win the general election against the Democratic opponent.

Graves has been a good governor for Kansas, and it is difficult to understand why Miller and his supporters think it would be best to knock Graves out of the governor's office. Are they at all concerned about splitting the Kansas GOP and thereby giving Democrats a better chance of electing their candidates to state and national offices?

It will be interesting to learn what Miller has to say about these and many other matters and why he thinks Graves should be denied his bid for another four years in the governor's office. It also will be interesting to see what if any role Sutherland will take in Miller's election effort.

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