Republican Party activists must miss a Kansas Jayhawks preseason game to attend a meeting designed to settle the party's internal strife.
The bell rings tonight for Round Two of a fight for control of the fractured Douglas County Republican Party.
GOP moderates and conservatives went toe-to-toe in September during an unsuccessful attempt to call an election for county leadership posts. That meeting was ruled out of order, because it didn't conform to state party rules.
More than 100 county precinct committeemen and committeewomen will try again at 7:30 tonight at Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Dr. The meeting is open to the public.
GOP Chair Jim Mullins of Lawrence, allied with conservatives loyal to defeated gubernatorial candidate David Miller of Eudora, will be challenged by Craig Templeton of Lawrence. Templeton, who is pro-life on abortion, is a compromise candidate recruited by moderates within the party who backed Gov. Bill Graves for re-election.
"I want the party to get down to the business of putting candidates on ballots and getting them elected," Templeton said.
Moderates said ineffective leaders of the Douglas County arm of the Republican Party were partially responsible for loses Nov. 3 by Douglas County Commission nominee Brian Kubota and U.S. Rep. Vince Snowbarger, both Republicans.
"There was no party behind Brian," said Templeton, who has worked on Republican legislative campaigns for Sen. Sandy Praeger and Rep. Tom Sloan of Lawrence.
Don Johnston of Lawrence, who in September considered a run against Mullins for party chair, said a shake-up in Douglas County's GOP hierarchy was justified following Snowbarger's loss to Democrat Dennis Moore.
"These people have not led," Johnston said. "You can't lose your congressman. The county chairman ... was sitting on his hands."
Snowbarger carried Johnson and Miami counties in the 3rd District, but not by wide enough margin to overcome big losses to Moore in Wyandotte and Douglas counties.
Mullins declined to discuss the outcome of the elections or the challenge to his chairmanship.
Chris Miller, who has worked on behalf of GOP moderates, said the number of precinct seats held by the two factions of the party was about even. Elections for county chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary will be close, he said.
-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.