Archive for Friday, May 1, 1998


May 1, 1998


The likely GOP primary will pit the incumbent Gov. Bill Graves and his campaign war chest vs. David Miller's grass-roots organization.

If you want to find out firsthand whether State Republican Chairman David G. Miller will run for governor, go Tuesday morning to his hometown of Eudora.

``I've made a decision, and I'm going to announce it at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday in Eudora City Hall,'' Miller told the Journal-World Thursday.

Miller's decision about running is probably the worst-kept secret in Kansas -- several of his supporters and even another conservative candidate have said Miller told them he will enter the race.

Miller, who heads the conservative wing of the Republican Party, would challenge moderate Republican Gov. Bill Graves in the Aug. 4 primary.

The primary is expected to be largely a contest of Graves' incumbency and campaign war chest vs. Miller's grass-roots organization.

Steve Abrams, a conservative Republican who sits on the Kansas State Board of Education, also has said he would run against Graves.

Abrams has said Miller personally informed him he would enter the race. And the political director of the state's largest anti-abortion organization also said Miller will enter.

Allan Cigler, a Kansas University professor of political science and government, said it's unclear why Miller has not publicly confirmed he is in the race.

``My initial guess is he's trying to assess the impact on Graves following that abortion decision,'' Cigler said.

Graves signed a bill Monday that puts further restrictions on abortions during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Some observers have suggested that action stifles opposition toward Graves from the party's conservative wing. Miller needs conservatives to win the primary.

``I don't have an idea of what he's up to,'' Cigler said about Miller. ``He's done some cagey things. I thought it was pretty cagey that he announced he was thinking about running right before Graves was going to get a lot of attention on the abortion thing.''

Miller, 47, served 10 years in the Kansas House, 1981-91, and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1990 as the running mate of Nestor Weigand of Wichita.

After his loss, he began working to encourage like-minded Republicans to get involved in the political process. With the help of conservatives, Miller became state Republican chairman.

Cigler, who studies political parties, said Miller isn't following the mold of traditional party politics.

``I think you'd have to search pretty far to find a state chair who ran against a seemingly popular governor of his own party in a re-election effort,'' Cigler said. ``Until David Miller came along, by and large incumbent governors picked their own chairs.''

-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is

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