Topeka — Unhappy with media coverage of the governor's race, Kansas Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger on Monday accused Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' running mate, Mark Parkinson, of benefiting from legislation.
Parkinson, a former legislator, denied the charge and called Shallenburger's broadside "just the nature of politics."
Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University, said Shallenburger's remarks showed that he was getting frustrated by poll numbers that show Sebelius ahead of Republican nominee Jim Barnett.
"He's got to be feeling right now that he's grasping at straws," Aistrup said. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Sebelius leading Barnett 48 percent to 39 percent.
Shallenburger said he was frustrated by the media not digging into Parkinson, a former state Republican Party chairman who recently switched to the Democratic Party to run as Sebelius' lieutenant governor.
Shallenburger said Parkinson had shepherded legislation in 1993 that helped promote the development of assisted living centers. Later, a company formed by Parkinson to build nursing and assisted living facilities, sold for $29 million.
"I think that is why he introduced legislation: to make himself $29 million," Shallenburger said.
He also said Parkinson's law office made $800,000 in legal fees during Sebelius' administration.
Parkinson said Monday that in 1993 he voted for a bill that helped develop assisted living facilities. He said he wasn't the sponsor of the bill, nor did he help move its passage through the Legislature.
Three years later, after he left the Legislature, Parkinson said he got into the nursing home and assisted living business.
As far as legal fees from the Sebelius administration, Parkinson said he never benefited because he left his law firm in 1999, three years before Sebelius was elected governor in 2002.
"I had no partnership interest and received no money from the state during the time the governor has been in office," he said.
Election 2006 - Kansas races
More on the 2006 Elections in Kansas
- 6News video: Low turnout may result in new primary election date (08-30-06)
- 6News video: Candidate speaks at university forum (08-30-06)
- 6News video: Evolution supporters will hold board majority (08-02-06)
- 6News video: Snag-free night for primaries (08-02-06)
- 6News video: County puts new voting machines to test (08-01-06)
- 6News video: Praeger holds up over opponent (08-01-06)
- Low turnout prompts call for new primary date (08-31-06)
- Publisher blasts candidate for illegally stuffing newspapers (08-04-06)
- Election hailed as pro-evolution (08-03-06)
- New voting machines perform well on first test (08-03-06)
- Barnett wins GOP bid to take on Sebelius (08-02-06)
- Voter turnout among lowest in memory (08-02-06)
- Eudora takes plunge on pool (08-02-06)
- Praeger prevails in 'negative' contest (08-02-06)
- Primary election results
- See how the voting went in select races
- Campaign finance reports
- Statewide office
- Board of Education
- Election 2006 - Kansas races