Republicans show Shallenburger support

Various Republican elected officials in Kansas on Wednesday expressed support for Tim Shallenburger, the state party chairman who has been under fire from some Wichita conservatives for “welcoming” candidates lax on abortion into the fold.

“I am a supporter of Tim and believe he has done a good job in the party,” said U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, who represents the “Big First” western Kansas district in Congress.

Shallenburger, a conservative, reportedly considered resigning his post Tuesday after a weekend appearance at the Pachyderm Club in Wichita, where anti-abortion activist Mark Gietzen criticized Shallenburger for taking a soft stance against abortion. Tuesday, Shallenburger said he would stay on the job.

“It’s not easy” keeping the peace between moderates and conservatives in the party, Shallenburger said.

“I’m not sure it’s any more difficult than it has been for quite some time, but it’s quite challenging, that’s for sure.”

Shallenburger did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.

Moran said Republicans should set aside their differences and focus on doing business.

Moran added: “I think this is an opportunity for those of us who would like to see Tim Shallenburger succeed as party chairman to rally to his cause.”

Kansas House Speaker Doug Mays, a candidate for governor, said the rift wasn’t between GOP moderates and conservatives – but between conservatives who differ on how conservative a conservative should be.

“Moderates,” Mays said, “have been quiet through this whole thing.”

Most Kansans, he said, don’t care about the rift, which he suggested was overblown.

“I think, in the long run, nothing is going to happen,” Mays said. “We’ll continue to be the Republican Party of Kansas, and we’ll be the party of all Republicans.”