Archive for Monday, July 20, 2009

Moran, Tiahrt must distinguish themselves to voters

Republicans vying for Senate seat are both conservative, but have some differences

Greensburg, Kan., city manager Steve Hewitt, second from left, tells the story of losing his home to a tornado to members of the Kansas congressional delegation in this 2007 file photo. Listening are, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, left, Rep. Jerry Moran, second from right, and Sen. Sam Brownback. Tiahrt and Moran will face off in the 2010 primary for a seat in the Senate.

Greensburg, Kan., city manager Steve Hewitt, second from left, tells the story of losing his home to a tornado to members of the Kansas congressional delegation in this 2007 file photo. Listening are, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, left, Rep. Jerry Moran, second from right, and Sen. Sam Brownback. Tiahrt and Moran will face off in the 2010 primary for a seat in the Senate.

July 20, 2009


The voting records of U.S. Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran reveal that both Kansans are among the conservative members of Congress.

“It was pretty hard to tell them both apart,” said Michael Lynch, a Kansas University assistant professor of political science.

However, Kansas Republican voters will need to find a way to distinguish between the two longtime House members in the next year. Both men hope to replace Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor.

The August 2010 primary will mark a face-off between Tiahrt, who has represented the Wichita area in the House since 1995, and Moran, a seven-term congressman whose district includes most of western and central Kansas.

“This is kind of the expected showdown in Kansas politics,” said Chapman Rackaway, an associate professor of political science at Fort Hays State University.


Even though the American Conservative Union recognized both Tiahrt and Moran in 2008 for their voting records, political pundits say voters can find differences between the two men.

Moran, for instance, has voted against the Republican Party in recent years on some civil liberties issues such as warrantless wiretapping and prison detainee issues. He also voted on expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Tiahrt voted against expanding SCHIP.

“There’s only a couple of votes where there’s a clear difference between the two,” Lynch said.

The winner of the primary would be tough to beat in the general election. That’s because the Democrats’ best chance to compete left the state months ago when Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius became U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rackaway said.

Two Survey USA polls conducted earlier this year showed a very tight race. Moran tended to get more support from people who identified themselves as moderates, and Tiahrt won more backing from conservatives.

However, the polls also showed that many potential voters were undecided, especially those who live in northeastern Kansas, where neither Moran or Tiahrt is particularly well-known.

Bob Beatty, a Washburn University associate professor of political science, said the quickest way to get a leg up in the race could be to start winning over voters in Republican-rich Johnson County.

Tiahrt’s campaign has already started to run ads critical of President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their support of the stimulus bill. Beatty said it may be a better strategy for Moran and Tiahrt to try to establish themselves as the best anti-status quo candidate in Washington, rather than the most conservative.

“It’s really going to be fascinating to see who can do well in eastern Kansas,” Beatty said.

A long race

The main comparison between the two campaigns so far is fundraising.

Moran raised nearly $385,000 in the last quarter compared with Tiahrt’s $322,000. Because he has faced less-competitive challenges in past House races compared to Tiahrt, Moran has been able to stockpile cash — giving him an overall advantage of $3.1 million to $1.4 million in cash on hand.

However, the race is a year away, and both campaigns are happy with the money they are bringing in.

“The best campaign for office is to do the job that you have as well as you know how to do it,” Moran said.

Tiahrt is using a different strategy that includes airing ads early in the process.

“We have to have somebody who will go out and do what’s necessary,” Tiahrt said.

He has won support of social conservatives in the state, including Kansans for Life and former Rep. Jim Ryun, who took a jab at Moran.

“We have no use for another politician who fades into the background out of fear that he will offend someone and not win 80 percent of the vote in his next election against token opposition,” Ryun wrote in his letter supporting Tiahrt.

Both candidates have also trotted out legislation to seek the fiscally conservative mantle.

Moran has won support from Sens. Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, and John Thune, of South Dakota. He has also sponsored a bill for the federal government to rid its holdings in private companies by next summer.

Tiahrt wants Congress to repeal some economic stimulus funding, a stance Democrats in the state criticized him for saying it would force deeper state budget cuts.

The focus on economic issues is revealing about the candidates’ strategies, Rackaway said.

“People want solutions-based leadership, and they don’t necessarily want partisan posturing,” he said. “Both of these guys respond to that.”

The challenge comes in balancing their current jobs in the House and trying to win support of both conservative and undecided voters for the August 2010 primary.

“We’re not going to know what is going to sway them until much closer to Election Day,” Beatty said.


headdoctor 8 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps we should take some pointers from "Brewster's Millions". Vote for none of the above.

dweezil222 8 years, 6 months ago

Tiahrt is nothing more than a mouthpiece/puppet of the anti-choice groups.

KansasVoter 8 years, 6 months ago

Here are the only things that distinguish Moran from Tiahrt:

Moran = slightly crazy right-wing republican Tiahrt = b@tsh!t insane right-wingnut republican

Kirk Larson 8 years, 6 months ago

Tiahrt has been hanging out with the C Street/Family weirdo group that thinks people with money and power are somehow chosen by god and can do no wrong. Kinda scary.

KansasVoter 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pace 8 years, 6 months ago

We'll see if either one of the has the guts to say something new, personal. If all these guys have to bring to the table is the blame, whine game and bushenomics.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 6 months ago


Check your e-mail.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

KansasVoter 8 years, 6 months ago

How did Machiavelli_mania violate the LJW's policies? I just read the entire thing and it doesn't seem like he violated any of your rules.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

Some things they all have in common is they have been on the taxpayer payroll too long, say they hate big government yet remain a part of it and love their excellent taxpayer funded healthcare. AND they all support Reaganomics aka wreckanomics.

They must spend a third or more of their time on the campaign trail gathering corrupt special interest campaign money.

The media has become a large part of the special interest takeover of our process as if they know what is best for all of us. Voters support this takeover by standing idly by while the MEDIA and the PARTIES dictate who can participate in debates and who receives press coverage. Lee Jones might have been a victim of the press.That is crap!

Campaigns go too long,spend way too much money and do not necessarily provide the best available. It is up to us to stop the nonsense at the voting booths. Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Lets’s demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America :

Demand a change on the next ballot because you know our legislators will NOT change the corrupt campaign finance process.

The big money candidates are more beholden than ever to corporate special interests due to the very long nature of campaigns. How do they have time to do the job they were elected to do?

We need public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue.

In Addition:

Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Isn't it time WE the People demand implementation of term limits?

ralphralph 8 years, 6 months ago

My 2-cents: Moran is owned by the big, corporate beef/pork feeding and processing interests, which explains his votes against domestic intelligence measures that might detect the flow of illegal immigrant labor to his masters' feedyards and plants, and his vote for SCHIP, which is the health care provider for the children of the illegal immigrant labor pool in SW Kansas.
Tiahrt seems more a product of the Wichita-centered anti-abortion base, with a big scoop of traditional law & order conservative thrown in. Given the choice of the two, I'd take Tiahrt on the grounds that he at least believes in what he is doing and saying (whether or not you agree), whereas Moran is just bending over for big business and will 'believe' in whatever pays best.
Prediction: social conservatives are fatigued and probably can't raise the money to put Tiahrt in, while the packers have such a huge stake in maintaining their quasi-slavery labor system that they'll spend huge to send Moran to do their bidding in the Senate. Moran wins.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

BTW why did the LJW decide not to give Lee Jones equal press? The press pushed Lee Jones to the side when Slattery entered the picture.... the party and the press made the wrong decision.

Now Brownback is leaving the federal payroll only to be seeking a state payroll job. What's up with this? He has disdain for taxes unless he's on the receiving end OR giving out corporate welfare.

average 8 years, 6 months ago

Moran is not likely to become a social grandstander (a la Coburn, Santorum, Bachmann, and Brownback). Tiahrt is born to it. There are quite a few people who like having a social crusader in office, but they haven't proven to be particularly effective legislators.

KansasVoter 8 years, 6 months ago

Machiavelli_mania (Anonymous) says… "Term limits for DC Congressmen is the answer."

Tiahrt promised to only serve 12 years if elected to congress. Since he lied about that, what else has he lied about? And what other promises has he broken? How many promises will he break in the future?

kthxbi 8 years, 6 months ago

“People separate it out,” he warned Tiahrt. “'Oh, okay, I got religion, that's private.' As if Jesus doesn't know anything about building highways, or Social Security. We gotta take Jesus out of the religious wrapping.”

He's going to ask Jesus about building highways. Awsome!

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 6 months ago

Chapman Rockway, in case you ever wonder why your career has peaked in the political science department of Fort Hays State, look no further than this observation:

“People want solutions-based leadership, and they don’t necessarily want partisan posturing,” he said. “Both of these guys respond to that.”

You, sir, have obviously not paid much attention to Todd Tiahrt's political career. He relishes political posturing. He prefers political posturing to results.

I'm not criticizing Mr. Tiahrt for this, as he is a politician and it is his right to appeal to the voters that way. I am criticizing Mr. Rockway and the reporter for trying to intimate Todd Tiahrt is driven my results over political posturing.

In over 14 years in the US House, you could count on one hand the number of times Mr. Tiahrt has done anything which might be considered even remotely bi-partisan. He makes Sam Brownback look like Olympia Snowe.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

Are there any real republicans running?

These are supporters of the neoconsrvative philosophy who preach PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members held highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.

These candidates are also from the party that destroyed the nations economy and none of them spoke out against anything because party loyalty is more important than our nations jobs or the ecnonomy... how quickly voters forget.

ralphralph 8 years, 6 months ago

Machi ... re- Let the people come.

That's fine, but let them come as people. My main concern with illegal immigration is that it creates an underclass of people who are not expected to obey the law and are not afforded the protection of law. To either allow or force people to live in such a shadow is closer to slavery than we should be willing to venture. The acceptance of this quasi-slavery by politicians and big business -- and apparently by you --- is shocking to me. We must have the courage and decency to put in place a system that balances human decency against the supposed economic benefit of a silent underclass. Jerry Moran does not have that courage ... he won't even discuss it. He is bought and paid for, with money earned on the backs of those who have no voice and no vote.

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 6 months ago

"I think they should be allow two terms, and then banned from ever holding a Congressional posts again." = M_M: This is one approach. I heard a good story on the radio the other day about California and how term limits, now in effect, are hurting the chances to overcome their crisis. There is a frustration over long-term office holders, but without them there is no institutional memory and less leadership. This allows the career 'lobbyists' to control more of the agenda. Another argument: We have term limits in place; they are called elections.

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

both are a they say, its not a choice, its a senate seat. or something like that.

that sure was nice of Kealing to erase that post without disappeardededdddeeeeding Machiavelliamaniamonstermash IV sure wish he would have emailed other people before he disapeardeededded them. at least you got a reason for your censorship.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Between Merrill, and Machievelli my head hurts, and my eyes are leaking blood.
Merrill is Merrill, Machiavelli is incoherant.

Centerville 7 years, 8 months ago

Too bad the LJW is too lazy to send a reporter to talk with either of them, but opts for a weasel quote from a poly sci instructor. And, for the record, it's Moran who lives at C Street. Tiahrt has never had anything to do with that group. Again, if the LJW put out as much effort as, even, the Hutch News, this would be well-known around here by now.

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