A Wichita candidate for state senator is seeking campaign contributions in Lawrence, hoping to tap into anger about last year's controversy about a Kansas University human sexuality class.
David E. Clark, a Democrat from Wichita, is challenging Republican Sen. Susan Wagle, who led the legislative crusade against KU professor Dennis Dailey's class. Late Monday night, Clark posted a solicitation for campaign donations on Reader Reaction, the Journal-World's online bulletin board.
"If you are for free speech and against lawmakers micromanaging our Regents' schools, then please consider making a financial contribution," Clark wrote on the Web site.
Wagle did not return calls seeking comment. Dailey said Tuesday he was ambivalent about being used as a campaign issue.
"I can understand why someone from another party would run against her ... and I could imagine that would relate to what I am and who I am," Dailey said. "I'm not sure how I feel about being used as an instrument for fund raising, but whatever rocks your boat, I guess."
In late March 2003 on the Kansas Senate floor, Wagle questioned Dailey's teaching of "Human Sexuality in Everyday Life." Wagle introduced an amendment to a bill that would have cut funding to KU's School of Social Welfare if videos shown in Dailey's class were deemed obscene.
The measure passed both houses but was vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius eventually signed into law a compromise that requires state universities to have policies on sexually explicit materials, sexual harassment and pedophilia.
Clark's online posting had drawn 80 responses by late Tuesday afternoon -- but, he said by phone, none included promises of contributions. He did not know whether he would make future contribution requests in Lawrence.
"Basically, I was hoping for some sympathies from the Lawrence area," he said. "Being a Democrat (in a largely Republican district), it's stacked up against me as it is. You have to seek campaign contributions wherever and whenever you can."
Clark, a Wichita public schools science teacher and adjunct instructor at Newman University, said: "I don't think it's good policy for a lawmaker to go after a teacher."
Dave Toplikar, editor of World Online, said Clark's posting violated forum rules against soliciting money. Toplikar said the posting would be allowed to remain, however.
"It's already become a news item," he said.
Clark said he hadn't had contact with Dailey. Dailey said he generally contributed to the state Democratic Party and a few chosen local candidates; he wasn't sure whether he would aid Clark's campaign.
"I would guess not," Dailey said. "I'm not sure. I'm not sure."