Archive for Wednesday, August 5, 1998

3RD DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE OFF TO A BOISTEROUS BEGINNING

August 5, 1998

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— Dennis Moore was an easy winner in the 3rd District Democratic primary, while incumbent Jim Ryun took the Republican nomination for the 2nd District.

Dennis Moore, a Lenexa attorney, devoted most of his Tuesday night primary victory speech to an assault on incumbent 3rd District U.S. Rep. Vince Snowbarger, the single-term Olathe Republican he aims to unseat in the Nov. 3 general election.

``Tonight, Gov. Graves took the first step in shutting down the Miller-Snowbarger coalition,'' Moore told supporters gathered for an election-night party at his Merriam campaign headquarters. ``In November, I want to take the second step,'' and oust Snowbarger, a conservative Olathe attorney who seeks a repeat assignment to Congress courtesy of the district's voters in Douglas, Johnson, Wyandotte and Miami counties.

Moore's Democratic primary squashing of Overland Park dispute mediator Dan Dana allowed him a fresh opportunity to lambaste Snowbarger, the true target in his rhetorical gunsights ever since he declared his candidacy in April.

Moore, who according to the latest federal filings has a fatter campaign treasury than the incumbent congressman, had but a nominal primary challenge from Dana, a bearded, soft-spoken, 52-year-old who waged a campaign as unconventional as it was ultimately unsuccessful. Moore beat him by a 3-to-1 margin.

By March, when most candidates were dipping regularly into their treasuries, Dana had officially reported spending only $13, most of which he dedicated to promoting his ideas, odd by conventional political standards, about nonadversarial conflict resolution.

And on at least one occasion Moore and Dana, ostensible opponents, joined hands to issue a joint statement critical of Snowbarger campaign tactics.

``Everybody expects Dennis to win. I do, too,'' Dana said as he watched the disappointing early election returns on television with a small group of family and friends at a home in Prairie Village. ``I'll certainly be on his side and support him any way I can'' in the general election.

``I did not seek a career in politics for myself,'' he said. ``I wanted to have a forum to express ideas about nonadversarial campaigning and legislating. I don't know how widely that message has been heard.''

Dana said by Tuesday he'd spent a total of about $2,000 on his race, most of it for printing yard signs and bumper stickers.

He said he would like to use his nonadversarial mediation techniques to smooth out differences between Snowbarger and Moore as they wage general-election warfare against each other.

``I would love to be able to play a role in trying to clean up the race between Dennis and Vince,'' he said, ``because I think negative, distorted ads are a disservice to the public.''

Neither Snowbarger nor Moore was showing interest in a mediated resolution Tuesday night.

Moore, who has tried to paint Snowbarger as a conservative extremist, accused the Republican freshman of wanting to dismantle Social Security, enfeeble the public school system and repeal the federal ban on ``military-style'' assault weapons.

Congress is still in session. So Snowbarger spent Tuesday night far from his home district on the House floor. He responded to Moore's criticisms by telephone.

``There's always going to be a Social Security system,'' he said. ``I do favor some changes. He doesn't want to allow private choice and private investment. I think that's a major difference between us.''

There were no close calls in the state's various congressional primary races. In the 2nd District, incumbent Republican Jim Ryun trounced challenger Tom Little. On the Democratic side, Jim Clark handily dispatched Wes Miller. Incumbent 4th District Rep. Todd Tiahrt and 1st District Rep. Jerry Moran were unopposed for the GOP nominations in their respective districts. Jim Lawing breezed past M.R. Kinard for the Democratic nomination in the 4th District.

-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is mshields@ljworld.com.

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