Archive for Sunday, September 28, 2008

Candidates of both parties downplay affiliations

U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda and State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, who are competing against each other in the 2nd Congressional District race, are both working to depict themselves as having independent judgment.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda and State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, who are competing against each other in the 2nd Congressional District race, are both working to depict themselves as having independent judgment.

September 28, 2008


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U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda and State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins aren't going out of their way to tell voters which political party they belong to. Boyda is the Democrat, and Jenkins, the Republican, in the 2nd Congressional District race.

But during this election, that's not unusual. In fact, candidates in many races are running away from their party labels. In TV and radio ads and campaign literature, there is little, if any, mention of party affiliation.

Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University, said in Republican-dominated Kansas, it's common for Democrats to downplay their party affiliation in general elections.

But Aistrup said that this year, "The Republican brand name is also tainted."

He added, "Voters perceive them (Republicans) to have been in charge for the past eight years, and as a consequence, those things that are going poorly right now are often attributed to the party in power."

An independent run

Candidates from both parties are working hard to depict themselves as having independent judgment.

In the race between U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Democratic challenger Jim Slattery, Roberts has noted that he opposed President Bush on health care, while Slattery has mentioned his support of a proposal by Republican presidential candidate John McCain to try to lower prescription drug costs.

In the race between Boyda and Jenkins for the district that includes west Lawrence, Boyda says both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for high gasoline prices, while Jenkins has criticized Republicans, saying they blew their chance when they were in charge of Congress.

Boyda has gone so far as to effectively shut the door on national Democratic Party funding in the campaign. Jenkins, however, will receive significant financial help from the national GOP.

Party officials weigh in

Officials from both parties in Kansas have different ideas about what is going on.

Mike Gaughan, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said it is not unusual for Kansas Democrats not to focus on party labels.

"Kansas Democratic candidates are building on a history of elected officials like (Gov.) Kathleen Sebelius, (U.S. Rep.) Dennis Moore and Nancy Boyda who reach across party lines to find common ground and promote ideas that help Kansas families," Gaughan said.

He said Republicans from President Bush to Kansas House Speaker Melvin Neufeld of Ingalls are "changing every important debate into divisive, partisan bickering."

Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kris Kobach, however, said he doesn't believe that GOP candidates generally are downplaying their party identity.

"It's hard to make generalizations across districts," Kobach said. "The prominence of the party label is something the candidate decides. In one district it may be extremely beneficial, and in one it might not."

He disagreed that President Bush is considered a negative for Kansas Republicans. "Whenever George Bush comes to Kansas, he can raise a lot of money and draw a huge crowd. The Republican brand is still very strong," Kobach said.

But KSU's Aistrup maintains there is general discontent among voters for both the Republican Party and Democratic Party. But, he added, that hasn't translated into gains by third-party candidates.

"The institution of American politics is generally winner-take-all," he said. "That leads to two-party competition, and once they get entrenched, through state laws and regulations, they continue to perpetuate their own power base."


Centerville 9 years, 8 months ago

I would have never guessed Boyda is a Democrat! Why, she's voted against Pelosi at least two percent of the time! I'll be!

notajayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Centerville;You'd be amazed at how many people don't know that.I would love to see two changes made on the ballots:1) Remove a party checkbox - make people vote for each office individually.2) Remove the party identification from the candidate's names - force people to pick a candidate by name instead of affiliation.If someone doesn't know by November that Obama is the Democrat's candidate and McCain is the Republican's, they're probably too stupid to be deciding who runs the country. And candidates should be chosen on where they stand on the issues, not by which party they belong to. I have voted the party line just once - it was my first time voting, and I just wanted to vote, without bothering to even find out who the candidates were. It was stupid then and would be equally stupid now. Since then (over three decades) I have never voted the party line, and there hasn't been one election where I didn't pick at least one candidate from each of the two major parties. And if I didn't know anything about either candidate for a particular office, I didn't cast a vote for that office.As I drive around, I see a lot of signs that just mention a name without a party mentioned, and I think that's great.

volunteer 9 years, 8 months ago

I didn't hear a word from the CPA on the concept of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Perhaps in their debate that topic may come up. (Ya think?)

Sparko 9 years, 8 months ago

It is embarrassing after the disasters of the Bush Administration that the Republican party still exists. They still have time to completely bankrupt the country. Boyda will be an important member of Democratic Congress in an Obama administration, God willing.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 8 months ago

SParko you need to review and research the "Community ReInvestment Act". Tha is where 92% of these bad loans came from.Bush and McCain were both trying to reform it, however the lobbyists had their claws into congressmen in both parties.Get out of yout BDS and start looking at the hazatrds around you.You are alseep.I know Bush is a massive Fup, but the two we have running is just SSDD.

spenmar 9 years, 8 months ago

Cut and Paste This Into Your Browser: Go To You Tube and Search for BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE - WHAT CAUSED THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

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