Archive for Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Political newcomer announces Democratic campaign for Kansas governor

November 17, 2009, 2:34 p.m. Updated November 17, 2009, 4:49 p.m.


— One year before the 2010 election, a Democrat has emerged to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback in the race for governor.

Tom Wiggans, a pharmaceutical executive, who until recently lived in California and has never voted in Kansas, formed a campaign committee for the contest.

If he wins the Democratic Party primary, Wiggans, 57, of Olathe, will probably face Brownback, R-Kan., who is leaving the Senate to run for governor.

Wiggans, a political newcomer who has never run for office, issued a prepared statement saying that he could better deal with the state’s fiscal problems because of his background in business. And he criticized Brownback as a career politician and opportunist.

“I have enjoyed a rewarding career starting and leading various bioscience and pharmaceutical companies, creating hundreds of jobs while developing new treatments for infertility, heart disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, and kidney, liver and skin cancers,” Wiggans said.

Kansas Republican Party Chair Amanda Adkins issued a one sentence statement. “It is hard to imagine Kansas Democrats would actually nominate for governor someone who has never voted in a Kansas election."

Wiggans also announced that Wint Winter Jr., a former Republican state senator from Lawrence, will serve as his campaign treasurer.

Wiggans was raised in southeast Kansas, but until recently was chief executive officer of Peplin Inc., an Emeryville, Calif., company developing a product for skin cancer. He moved to Olathe in January, his spokesman Amy Jordan Wooden said.

He is a native of Fredonia and graduate of Kansas University with a degree in pharmacy. He is a member of the board of trustees of the KU Endowment Association.

Wiggans steps into a void created when Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, said he would not seek election. Parkinson had been lieutenant governor and was promoted when Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was appointed by President Obama to head the federal health and human services agency.

Since then, Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates was considered a possible candidate, but he, too, decided against running. Democrat Herb West has announced his intention to seek the party’s nod. Meanwhile, Brownback, considered a conservative Republican, is unopposed in the GOP primary.

Wiggans criticized Brownback, saying, “Our state needs a governor who can speak the language of business, jobs and prosperity -- not a career politician like Senator Brownback who's spent nearly 15 years in Washington, D.C., as Congress added over $7 trillion to our national debt.”


Ralph Reed 7 years, 10 months ago

I'll be interested in hearing his stand on several issues. Will he be different than Brownback or just from a different party?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

With Winters as chair, it looks like another moderate Republican bailing on his party.

preebo 7 years, 10 months ago

It will be an uphill struggle, sir. But I, and other Democratic Party faithful, hope that you can do it. I'll help anyway I can, phone banking, canvassing, or fund-raising - you name it.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Face it folks we must be careful no matter who is running.

Brownback is certainly not the person because his party has 30 years of real criminal baggage. Brownback does not speak out against nor demands investigations.

This man Tom Wiggins looks at bio science as the ultimate golden goose which is also scary. He sounds like a person from the pharmaceutical industry who will only get in the way of excellent health care insurance reform.

And who will throw a lot of tax dollars at his industry. These people who come into local,state and federal government waving " I'm a business person" flag have not been great stewards of our tax dollars.

Let's be very careful. There are NO guarantees behind the bio science industry believe me. But there are bio science investors who want to make a lot of money with OUR tax dollars.

Every state in the union is looking at bio science and bio science is looking for OUR tax dollars aka tax abatements or other grand tax incentives.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Locally and at state level tax increases are all over the place.

Who has tax dollars to spare gambling on the wealthy pharmaceutical industry?

Let them fund their own risky business. WE taxpayers are NOT Wall Street.

With all due respect I do believe Wint is a banker. Mr. Wiggins should get with Wint and finance all risky business through the banks NOT through the taxpayers. After all we taxpayers already fund the lions share if not all of Pharmaceutical R&D by way of our universities.

hs_reader 7 years, 10 months ago

Are there any other Democratic candidates?

Stuart Evans 7 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Wiggans, what is your stance on marijuana. you are obviously scientifically minded from what I've read on your background. So you must see the realities of marijuana and the illegality of marijuana prohibition. Would you be willing to stand up and put Kansas at the forefront of this emerging national conversation? Our state has been suffering from a budge crisis much like the rest of the country. Ending marijuana prohibition would increase tax revenue, while decreasing court and law enforcement costs. These extra monies could be put towards education and fighting real detrimental crimes in our cities.

I am a Libertarian voter. I have no desire to vote along any party lines. I always vote with the most intelligent and realistic candidate. Are you one of these?

topekahawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow. Tom Wiggans of Atherton, California, welcome to Kansas. I see you have given some political donations in the past...

nbnozzy 7 years, 10 months ago

This is one Republican who won't vote for Brownback. But I see by topekahawk's URL that Wiggans donated to the Obama campaign. If this is the same person, then I could not in good faith, vote for him either.

I need someone to believe in and vote for in 2010. Any volunteers?

Michael Stanclift 7 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps topekahawk missed the part about him being from Olathe.

Michael Stanclift 7 years, 10 months ago

OK, my bad... looks like I missed the part where he moved back from California recently. They must have just added that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

It appears that he does have Kansas roots, but has worked in California for awhile

Thomas G. Wiggans

Director ONYX Pharmaceuticals Inc Emeryville , CA Sector: HEALTHCARE / Biotechnology

Director , Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. Richmond , CA Sector: HEALTHCARE / Biotechnology

Director , Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated San Diego , CA Sector: HEALTHCARE / Drug Manufacturers - Other

57 Years Old Thomas G. Wiggans, age 57, has served as a Director since March 2005. Mr. Wiggans served as Chief Executive Officer of Connetics Corporation, a biotechnology company, from 1994 until December 2006, and as Chairman of the Board from January 2006, until December 2006, when Connetics Corporation was acquired by Stiefel Laboratories. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Wiggans served as President and Chief Operating Officer of CytoTherapeutics, a biotechnology company. From 1980 to 1992, Mr. Wiggans served in various positions at Ares-Serono Group, a pharmaceutical company, including President of its U.S. pharmaceutical operations and Managing Director of its U.K. pharmaceutical operations. Mr. Wiggans currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Peplin, Inc. and serves as a Director of Sangamo Biosciences and Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, as well as two private companies. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Board of Trustees of the University of Kansas Endowment Association. In addition, he is Chairman of the Biotechnology Institute, a non-profit educational organization. Mr. Wiggans holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

This is particularly interesting from the link above.

"He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University"

The Hoover Institute is a conservative/libertarian think tank. So he's no liberal.

Boeing 7 years, 10 months ago

Preebo: interesting to see you are so anxious to campaign for a guy who has almost no known stance on anything just because he puts a "D" next to his name. This is why I hate politics...people voting only for a party and not a person. Sad...

Steve Jacob 7 years, 10 months ago

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?"

OBT_power 7 years, 10 months ago

We all know Brownback and his extremist views. Let's not forget the damage our state experienced when the majority of the BOE held his views. Brownback would easily set Kansas back 200 years!

Let's hope Wiggans is the man that can save our state since it does not appear the Republicans have anyone that is willing to take Brownback on in the primary. There are many qualified Republicans. It is sad that they are not willing to step on toes and stand up for our state.

joemoyenne 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow! According to, Wiggans gave BIG $ to Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, & the Republican Party of California while he was living there. After all he isn't a Kansan, much less a Democrat. And you thought the Party was desperate getting their state chair to almost run. Pathetic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Yea, it's looking like even conservative Republicans are bailing on the party and running as Dems.

laughingatallofu 7 years, 10 months ago

I'll vote for him --- sight unseen. Anybody but Brownback.

Budgets_Smudgets 7 years, 10 months ago

...After all he isn't a Kansan....

Uh... someone who grows up in Fredonia knows more about Kansas and Kansans than 2/3 of the people who live in Lawrence.

Phillbert 7 years, 10 months ago

Wiggans grew up here and has now moved back. Good enough for me.

Plus, Bob Dole proved you don't have to live in Kansas to get elected here over and over. Same with Pat Roberts, unless you really believe he was living in that duplex in Dodge City he listed as his home address for a while.

joemoyenne 7 years, 10 months ago

Phillbert, Wiggans giving $$ to Romney and other R's makes him an R. At least Brownie admits where he stands.

sad_lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

This is good news for Kansas. Wiggans has an excellent record and could be a great leader for Kansas. He has my support.

BigDog 7 years, 10 months ago

Wiggans has an excellent record and could be a great leader for Kansas.

Excellent record?? On what?

Moderate_Republican 7 years, 10 months ago

“I''ll vote for him – sight unseen. Anybody but Brownback.'” –- laughingatallofu

"I second that."-- porch_person

Me too.

Alison Roberts 7 years, 10 months ago

People need to learn how to read before they make comments, jeez.

Alison Roberts 7 years, 10 months ago

perhaps he gives money to candidates with whom he identifies and shares the same political ideas.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"A candidate who lived for years in The Land of Fruits And Nuts; the state which has originated virtually every bad law on the books in the entire country."

Ronnie Rayguns II?

avoice 7 years, 10 months ago

Wiggans grew up here, but he hasn't lived here as an adult. There is a lot of cultural difference in different regions of the country. While someone from the "outside" can bring new perspective, he also may lack the perspective of knowing what the State of Kansas needs. I say he should spend a few more years getting re-acclimated to the midwest and to Kansas before jumping up to be governor of the state. At the very least, he could start more locally.

Danimal 7 years, 10 months ago

Hopefully this will encourage Parkinson to have a change of heart about running. Even if Wiggans has spent the vast majority of his life in California, at least he still lets people know that he's from Fredonia, KS.

thinkb4utype 7 years, 10 months ago

vavs0929 (Anonymous) says…perhaps he gives money to candidates with whom he identifies and shares the same political ideas.

SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?!? Did you read any of the other postings that pointed out Mr. Wiggans gave the max to George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Rudy Guilianai, John McCain and then a week for the November 2008 election, writes a $5000 check to Barack (which was wayyyy too much)?

He didn't give that money because he shares their beliefs or philosophies. He did it because he wanted something in return - he's an opportunist... some might even say a carpet bagging opportunist...

And how sad it is that so many of you would vote for someone without even learning one bit of truth about him or her. That is why our state and country are in such bad shape. Why even vote?

skylights 7 years, 10 months ago

When I saw the Hoover Institution thing on his About page, my eyes bugged out. This is a right-wing "think" tank, and he's on the board of directors?! And he's not even trying to hide it? I look forward to seeing what his views are, but I doubt he'll be much better than Brownback.

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