Kathleen Sebelius and Tim Shallenburger have been bickering about each other's records and stances for weeks. Now their parties' student groups on the Kansas University campus are doing the same.
Shallenburger, the Republican candidate for governor, is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. today at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. The free event is open to the public.
The event is sponsored by the KU College Republicans, whose members said Tuesday that Shallenburger's appearance at KU was a sign he cared more about higher education and young voters than Sebelius, the Democratic candidate. Sebelius hasn't spoken at KU.
"Sebelius has said young voters are very important to her," said Matt Flynn, a Lenexa senior and chairman of the Kansas Federation of College Republicans. "She won't back it up by listening to their concerns."
But Robin Anderson, president of the KU Young Democrats, said her group hadn't asked Sebelius to speak, noting the candidate who is state insurance commissioner has a busy schedule. Anderson, a senior from Topeka, said Shallenburger's KU appearance by itself did not make him a pro-education candidate.
"I go to College Republican meetings from time to time, but that doesn't make me a Republican," she said. "Tim Shallenburger going to KU doesn't make him the pro-education candidate."
Anderson said she planned to be at tonight's speech and was encouraging other Young Democrats to be there, too.
Leaders from both groups said they were convinced their candidate was the best choice.
Flynn said Shallenburger wouldn't increase taxes, a stand that would stimulate the economy and provide jobs for students entering the workforce. Shallenburger also is environmentally friendly, Flynn said. He noted Shallenburger's first success in politics his election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1986 was partly due to a Superfund site in Cherokee County.
Anderson, meanwhile, said Sebelius would do the most to help higher education.
"Shallenburger coming to KU is going to do a lot to help Kathleen," Anderson said. "He's obviously not the one we want."