Lawrence Republican joins Kline campaign

As co-chairman, Wells hopes to bridge GOP's ideological gap

? Prominent Lawrence Republican Kim Wells has been named co-chairman of Atty. Gen. Phill Kline’s re-election campaign, it was announced Friday.

In the often fractious Republican Party, Kline is seen as a leader of the conservative wing, while Wells has been considered more of a moderate Republican.

But Wells said that didn’t matter.

“It’s my policy to support the entire ticket,” said Wells, who served as chairman of the Kansas Republican Party from 1991 to 1995 and was a key staffer to former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.

“The party is so split,” Wells said. “If the moderates don’t get their way, they’ll vote for the other party, and the same thing happens with conservatives; they’ll sit out.

“I don’t think that is the way to build the Republican Party. It’s broad enough to have both camps,” he said.

Kline faces Democrat Paul Morrison in the Nov. 7 election.

Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney, switched parties from Republican to Democrat to challenge Kline. Morrison’s co-chairs are Jill Docking and Mark Parkinson, a former state GOP chairman who switched to the Democratic Party to become Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ lieutenant governor running mate.

Wells, an attorney, joked that he didn’t like party switchers unless they were Democrats coming over to the Republican side.

He said he probably didn’t agree with Kline on every issue but thought Kline had done a good job.

Kline named Mary Alice Lair of Piqua as the other co-chair. Lair has served as chair and vice chair of the Kansas Republican Committee and as the state party’s national committeewoman.

“Both Kim and Mary Alice have served our party well,” Kline said. “They bring years of political experience and expertise to the leadership of my campaign.”