Overland Park Republican Party members and their newly anointed candidates pledged Wednesday morning to make a clean sweep of Kansas races in the November general election.
GOP candidates — including lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Colyer, U.S. Senate nominee Jerry Moran and 3rd Congressional District nominee Kevin Yoder — spoke at a “Victory Breakfast” at the Overland Park Marriott, emphasizing the need for party unity this fall.
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican nominee for governor, was to speak at the event but had to fly early Wednesday to Washington, D.C., for a Senate vote. His running mate, Colyer, addressed the crowd.
“This is one of the fun times of being a Republican, a time when we can all come together,” he said.
Colyer said he had been on the losing end of a primary in the past, but it was important to support the Republican candidates moving forward.
“That next morning, I knew that there was a lot more that joined us together than separated us,” he said.
Colyer promised a “clean sweep” for Republicans in November, urging the crowd to cheer the phrase twice.
Moran discussed the need for change in the nation’s government, saying he was concerned that many Kansans did not think their children would have a better life than they had.
“Whether it’s Johnson County, Kansas, or Johnson City, Kansas, we live a lifestyle that is worth preserving,” he said.
Moran’s opponent in a bruising primary, U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Goddard, did not attend the breakfast but pledged support for Moran.
“I do not want a Democrat senator from the state of Kansas,” Tiahrt told a Wichita audience overnight.
Yoder, who emerged as the winning candidate from a field of nine Republicans for the 3rd Congressional District, commended the other candidates on their hard work. At least four of his opponents, including former state Rep. Patricia Lightner, attended the event.
“The great thing about this campaign was all the candidates believe in less government, less spending,” Yoder said, adding he would continue to support those principles as he moved forward. “We need a unified party to beat Stephene Moore this November.”
Ronnie Metsker, Johnson County Republican Party chairman, expressed his joy at the passing of the primary season. He noted the party had vowed not to promote any particular candidate before the primary.
“Thank the Lord we’re past that now,” he said.
Metsker said taking back the 3rd District seat was of particular importance, noting the challenge was to find 35,000 extra votes to prevail over the Democratic voters in Douglas and Wyandotte counties.
“There is a central focus, and that is on the 3rd District because that’s the race that needs help the most,” he said.