Wichita Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt made his 2010 Senate run official Thursday, telling supporters that he wants to focus on building the economy from the ground up rather than from the government down.
Tiahrt filed papers Thursday to run for the Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor next year. Rep. Jerry Moran also has filed for the GOP nomination. No Democrats have announced plans to run.
Tiahrt said he carries out his job differently from other members of Kansas’ congressional delegation, including Moran.
“I take the issues that are important to Kansas to the floor and take the battles that we need to take on to recover our economy and rebuild our culture,” Tiahrt said during a news conference after filing the paperwork.
He touted his ability to get things done by gathering the support of other leaders, including Democrats, to overturn a decision to award a contract to replace the Air Force’s 50-year-old fleet of aerial refueling planes to Northrop Grumman Corp. and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.
“Who has the strongest record, who has the strongest vision, who has the courage to get things done?” Tiahrt said.
Moran campaign spokesman Travis J. Murphy told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after Tiahrt’s filing that “it is unfortunate” there is going to be a primary and acknowledged that regardless of who wins the race, the state will lose seniority in the House.
He said Moran was encouraged by people all across Kansas to run for the Senate and he made his intentions known immediately after his re-election to the House in the fall.
“Congressman Moran and Mr. Tiahrt have been longtime friends, have worked together throughout the years on various projects for Kansas, but have very different styles on how they do their jobs,” Murphy said. “Jerry is such he focuses specifically on Kansas. And the overwhelming response he has gotten in the 1st District in his re-election numbers and support, I think, is a testament to that.”
As for who has the courage needed to get this done, Murphy pointed to Moran’s leading the charge in 2000 to lift sanctions against Cuba on food and medicine despite the wishes of the Republican leadership and the White House.
“The congressman has very much demonstrated his courage and his willingness to stand up on behalf of Kansans despite what party leaders are encouraging,” Murphy said.
Tiahrt represents the 4th District of south-central Kansas. Moran represents the sprawling 1st District, which includes western Kansas.
“I think I can be four times more effective in the Senate,” Tiahrt said. “This state is a small state population-wise and it is facing big challenges and needs somebody who will take our fight to the floor of the Senate. Too often small states get run over, and I like the idea that there are only two senators from each state.”
He also told reporters that he has a plan to rebuild the economy that focuses on helping businesses and reducing government regulation. He said the U.S. has raised taxes and imposed regulations to the point where it is easier to start a business in China.