Archive for Monday, July 24, 2006

Republican race too close to call; conservatives fare better in primary

July 24, 2006

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Don't be surprised if Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger loses to Eric Carter in next week's Republican primary.

Praeger is a moderate; Carter is clearly a conservative.

In recent years, conservatives have fared better in low-turnout primaries than moderates.

"I think Carter's the favorite, or, at least, it's 50-50," said Burdett Loomis, a political science professor at Kansas University.

"There's nobody at the top of the ticket who's getting any attention - or they haven't yet," he said. "So turnout will be low."

Usually, incumbents who've steered clear of controversy have a clear advantage over their challengers.

Not this time, Loomis said. "This race isn't about electing an insurance commissioner," he said. "It's about defining what it means to be a Republican.

"Here you have Sandy Praeger, who's very much in the Nancy Kassebaum-Pat Roberts-Bob Dole tradition, and who's very clearly pro-choice," Loomis said. "And then you have Eric Carter, who's saying she's a RINO - Republican in Name Only - who clearly doesn't share our values."

Last week, Praeger and Carter both predicted a low turnout.

"Nobody cares who's insurance commissioner," Carter said.

Cindy Duckett, a conservative activist from Wichita, seconded Loomis' analysis.

"I don't think the moderates have the clout they think they do," she said. "They don't have same passion that exists among conservatives."

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