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Archive for Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top Democrat drops out of Kansas governor’s race

December 16, 2009, 1:28 p.m. Updated December 17, 2009, 12:00 a.m.

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— The leading Democratic candidate for Kansas governor dropped out of the race Wednesday, leaving his party with no strong challenger to the expected Republican nominee, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback.

Tom Wiggans, a former pharmaceutical executive making his first run for public office, had the backing of state Democratic leaders, who touted his business experience and contrasted it with Brownback’s 15 years in Congress.

But Wiggans’ campaign acknowledged Wednesday that he would have difficulty defeating Brownback, who is expected to run an aggressive and well-funded campaign. “Tom was relatively unknown to many voters and many donors, and what we saw was that resources it would take counter that, to talk about issues, is insurmountable,” spokeswoman Amy Jordan Wooden said.

Wiggans had little name recognition after living outside the state for many years and returning early this year.

Brownback’s campaign also had raised as an issue a securities fraud lawsuit in California in which Wiggans was a defendant. Wiggans and others settled the case in October for nearly $12.8 million, plus interest, and weren’t required to acknowledge any wrongdoing. But the lawsuit had led Brownback’s campaign manager to publicly label Wiggans “a fraud.”

On Wednesday, though, Brownback said he appreciated Wiggans being willing to run for public office. “I wish him and his family all the best,” the senator said in a statement. “I will remain focused on growing the Kansas economy and creating good jobs.”

So far, Brownback faces only token opposition in the GOP primary set for August. Democrats had searched for a viable challenger to Brownback because Gov. Mark Parkinson said repeatedly that he won’t run. The only declared Democrat is now Herbert West III, of Paola, who ran unsuccessfully for Miami County sheriff in 2008.

Parkinson spokeswoman Beth Martino said that Wiggans’ decision isn’t causing the governor to reconsider.

With the exit of Wiggans, the Lawrence Journal-World asked Parkinson if he was reconsidering whether to run.

His spokesman Beth Martino said he wasn't. "No. The Governor remains focused on the state budget, ensuring the Kansas economy gets back on track and getting Kansans back to work."

Letter from Tom Wiggans to campaign adviser Amy Jordan-Wooden

Dear Amy,

For the past month I have been exploring my potential candidacy for Governor of Kansas. During that period I have had the honor of meeting and speaking with Kansans across our state, and have studied the opportunity to enter public service and help lead the state to a bright future.

What I have learned from my discussions, and from public opinion polling, is that Kansans are hardly in sync with Sam Brownback and they are deeply concerned with the performance of Congress. What I have also learned, is that for a candidate who has recently returned to his home state and who has never run for political office, it will take more time and resources than I can assemble to mount a winning campaign. While I have remained involved in many activities in the state over the past years, I have spent much of my business career away from home and thus am unknown to many voters and donors.

Therefore I believe it is in the best interest of the voters for me to end my exploration of running for Governor and entering public service at this time, and instead offer my ideas and experience to state leaders, institutions, and companies and focus my energies on creating new jobs and a strong economy for the future. I am committed to continuing my dialog with the voters of Kansas and becoming fully engaged in the many issues facing our state.

For now, I am deeply grateful to the many Kansans who offered me encouragement and I look forward to working with them toward a bright future for the state I am proud to call home.

Sincerely,

Tom Wiggans

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

And he appeared to be more of a Republican than a Democrat, to boot.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Brownback will not be beat. We Democrats just have to live with it, accept it now, so it will not be as painful when he takes office in 2011.

50YearResident 5 years ago

I think there is a large group of voters on thes forum that will not vote for Brownback. We will vote for any other candidate but Sam. Tom Wiggins has more support than he thinks.

trinity 5 years ago

oh srj, please-we have GOT to have somebody! anybody! brownback would be a huge mistake, in my opinion...i wasn't too crazy about wiggans, but holy smoly. anyone??

frank mcguinness 5 years ago

Game Over, Welcome to the Office of the Governor Sam. Watch the separation between church and state become nothing.

preebo 5 years ago

Wiggans, tried to raise funds, but there wasn't enough public support for his candidacy, but the DNC went along with him, because they thought he'd be more likely to spend some of his own money on the campaign. Alas it doesn't look like that will happen. You have got to remember, that Brownback has local fund-raising efforts as well as national groups funneling money into his campaign coffers, that's a lot to combat, especially for a political novice, like Mr. Wiggans.

It looks like Brownback, with no apparent challengers, will walk right into the Governor's Mansion. Thank God, and I do mean, Yaweh, my family and I will be relocating back to Colorado at the end of 2010, just-in-time for the "exodus."

puddleglum 5 years ago

dang, looks like there aren't as many puddleglum supporters here as I was hoping for.

63BC 5 years ago

Where's the outrage towards the people who pushed this guy?

They saw somebody with a checkbook and tried to rent the nomination to him and it blew up in their faces.

The Kansas Democratic Party needs new leadership.

Time to clean house of everyone involved in this fiasco.

Centerville 5 years ago

Time for some more delicious cherry pie!

Centerville 5 years ago

Oh, and time to thank Augustus...

MyName 5 years ago

If they couldn't find someone decent to run against Brownback for senator, I'd be surprised if they can find anyone for governor either. That being said, it's still very early and alot can change between now and August (let alone November).

MyName 5 years ago

@Marion:

If there is a "revolution" then your side will be one of the first up against the wall as this is clearly not a Democratic majority state.

Just FYI there...

preebo 5 years ago

"This is just the beginning of the Revolution."

Hardly, this state voted for the "other guy" in '08, so it going Repulsivan, I mean republican, in 2010 is no surprise, and hardly the spellings of a revolution, sorry.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

How's that hopenchange working out for you?

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

Marion......always with the revolutions, apocalypse, pandemics and voter revolts. None of which happen. None

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years ago

Brownback was probably gonna win anyway...it just sucks that this pretty much makes it a lock.

Obama, why did you have to take Sebelius from us? We had a democratic governor in a red state and you took her from us.

MyName 5 years ago

@Ricky:

She was term limited anyways. The best candidate may be the current governor, though he's not going to run. The problem with Steve Six is that he's a great Attorney and has almost no experience running anything. Of course, that's also Brownback's problem, but he's got enough time in the House and Senate that people at least know who he is and may not care about administrative experience.

storm 5 years ago

No matter who it is, Sam wins because he's married a Stauffer.

preebo 5 years ago

Ricky,

She was term limited, so she would have been gone anyway in 2010. As for Brownback being a lock, this was conventional wisdom back when Parkinson chose not to run. With his name recognition (in Kansas), he was the closest thing to a celebrity candidate (see Schwarzenegger). That, coupled with his tenure in Washington and his fundraising capabilities, his campaign is fully stocked and ready to sling the mud at the first sign of opposition. It would have been difficult for even the most seasoned Kansas politico (see Larry Gates, KDP Chairman) to go up against Brownback. Nationally, Brownback is a punchline, but here in Kansas he is political royalty. Like I said, I would not want to be a state employee or a small business owner when he is sworn in, or for that matter, I would not want to be a resident. Fortunately, my family and I will be relocating to our new home in the rising Progressive bastion, that is Colorado (except for Colorado Springs) before any of this transpires.

verity 5 years ago

Puddleglum, I offered some time ago to work for your election and you ignored me. I even gave you a slogan on another comment site today---

“Can't be any worse than Brownback!”

With a name like Puddleglum, how could you lose?

redfred 5 years ago

I'm glad that this time next year I'll be living in sunny Florida! Good luck Kansas.

thatonedude 5 years ago

As bad as the Dems need a candidate, Wiggans was a nobody with nothing to offer the state. I'm a Democrat, and I want Brownback to lose, but we can't keep throwing whoever-wants-to-run at him.

Centerville 5 years ago

Yes, please convince Dennis Moore to run for governor. Please.

BigDog 5 years ago

Dennis Moore is not running for Governor. If Dennis was looking to stay in politics at this time, I am sure he would have stayed in Congress.

There are reasons he left Washington .... and it wasn't because he thought he couldn't win again.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Let me copy my quote from when the guy first ran...

"I think the Democrats put ads in newspapers all over the country…”Bored!? Been in Kansas before!? Have a million bucks of your own money to blow!? Why not run for Governor?”

wastewatcher 5 years ago

Management 101 -- Always have a succession plan in place, apparently the Dems have never taken the course. After eight years in the Governors office, the party appears to be weaker than ever, and the state is in a helluva mess. Thank you ex Gov. Sebelius, hope you are enjoying DC. Bet you are not getting many Christmas cards from Kansas this year.

getreal 5 years ago

Parkinson is the ONE who could defeat Brownback and save the state from the disastrous fate of falling into the hands of Brownie who supports vouchers, will reduce school funding, who doesn't believe in evolution....the list goes on and on. Will Parkinson save the day?

oklahoma 5 years ago

redfred and preebo--Careful, don't let the doorknob bump you in the behind on your way out.

Uh, checked the budget lately? Not even a Docking could save the day with this much red ink spilled on Kathy's watch.

Parkinson could win, but he's too moderate for this town...

Sam-my, Sam-my, Sam-my!!!

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