Archive for Sunday, February 21, 2010

Observer: Brownback challenger should note Mass. case

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, announces his candidacy for Kansas governor before a crowd of supporters in Topeka in February. Holland recently took issue with a poll that said he was far behind Sam Brownback in the Kansas governor race.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, announces his candidacy for Kansas governor before a crowd of supporters in Topeka in February. Holland recently took issue with a poll that said he was far behind Sam Brownback in the Kansas governor race.

February 21, 2010


If Kansas Democrats feel discouraged about their party’s chances in the governor’s race, they could look at Massachusetts.

There, a state senator from Massachusetts’ minority party vaulted past the favored candidate to win a stunning election last month. Scott Brown’s capture of the U.S. Senate seat — held for nearly half a century by the late Edward Kennedy — has shaken national politics.

Now, in Kansas, a little-known state senator, Tom Holland, from the minority Democratic Party, faces a well-financed and well-known Republican, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, in the governor’s race.

“Strange things happen in politics,” said Joe Aistrup, a political science professor at Kansas State University. “You just saw a great example of that in Massachusetts. An unknown state senator caught the right wave at the right time.”

But Aistrup says that a Holland victory over Brownback is a longshot at best.

“What Democrats have to hope for is that Brownback will somehow be tripped up, something will happen to lead to a number of warts being exposed. The chances of that happening are slim,” he said.

Holland faces a steep climb.

“He has no name recognition beyond his state senate seat,” Aistrup said. “He’s not even well-known around Democratic activists. He is facing a very well-financed challenger, and his capacity to raise money will be very challenging. And this is a very difficult election year for any Democrat.”

When Holland announced his candidacy last week, Kansas Republican Party executive director Ashley McMillan issued a news release, saying she thought Holland was a “precursor to the real Democratic candidate, who will emerge in a few months.”

But Holland is the one that the Kansas Democratic Party has endorsed to go against Brownback.

What does he have to do to win?

Right out of the chute, Holland called Brownback a “career politician,” and linked him to the partisan atmosphere of Washington politics. In addition to locking down registered Democratic voters, Holland must woo Republicans who aren’t thrilled about Brownback, a favorite of the religious right.

Meanwhile, Holland’s supporters must promote his experience as owner and president of a small business — Holland Technologies — and paint himself as an independent who can work with Democrats and Republicans.

“Governors are CEOs of their states, and as a successful small business owner, Tom’s experience in balancing the books and getting the most out of every penny is exactly what Kansas needs,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat who has said he is not going to run for election.

But Aistrup said the state Democratic Party, always outnumbered in Kansas, has fallen on hard times in the past few years.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who won re-election in 2006, has gone to work in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet; former Attorney General Paul Morrison resigned in sex scandal; and 2nd Congressional District Rep. Nancy Boyda was defeated in 2008. In addition, 3rd Congressional District Rep. Dennis Moore is retiring, opening the seat for a possible Republican gain.

“After 2006, it looked like the sky was the limit, but since then it has been nothing but bad news,” Aistrup said of the Democratic Party’s situation in Kansas.


anon1958 8 years, 2 months ago

Brownback and Kansas pretty much deserve one another, I dont know why any real democrat would bother with this state.

feeble 8 years, 2 months ago

All you need to know about Brownback:

Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)

So much for small government.

63BC 8 years, 2 months ago

The point being that Scott Brown won because he was AGAINST the Obama health care plan and his opponent supported it.

The opposite is true for the challenger and in this case.

If anything, the national mood that propelled Brown will work against Democrats again in this race.

Centerville 8 years, 2 months ago

Good idea, but I can't see Holland renouncing Sebilius and Parkingson. No one would belive him since he's been 101% in the tank for them.

situveux1 8 years, 2 months ago

I guess "Observer" is the new "Analysis.

Jeremy DeBoard 8 years, 2 months ago

There's no independent candidates? I find it hard to believe that out of 3 million people in the state we only have two people running for governor. So what if they won't have a chance due to our current political makeup, they still should be public knowledge.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 2 months ago

When Brownback campaigned for President, he didn't look presidential and he failed to connect with the voters.

Just being a Republican probably won't be enough to guarantee a victory.

straightforward 8 years, 2 months ago

The biggest difference between Holland and Scott Brown in Massachusetts is that Brown already had name recognition. He posed half nude in Cosmo when he was younger. Maybe Holland should see about getting a spot on a centerfold!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Sen Brownback is all about giving as many big government tax dollars as possible to wealthy corporations aka special interests.

He is not a huge supporter of public schools but prefers charter schools/private schools = reckless spending of tax dollars.

For a man so against big government why has he stayed on the big government payroll for soooo many years accepting tax dollar paid medical insurance, golden parachute retirement plan and the automatic $4000 a year raise whether he deserved it or not?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Sen Tom Holland is an excellent candidate who definitely does support public schools. Sen. Holland has in the past been hands on support for public schools.

Sen. Holland will make some decisions that will not meet my fancy but what politician doesn't?

Sen. Holland has a fiscal conservative side that I believe can be appreciated.

Face it republicans have some long long history of putting americans out of work and NOT creating any new industry to cover those those that became unemployed by way of outsourcing.

dweezil222 8 years, 2 months ago

All Sam Brownback has is a desire to create the Fundamentalist Republic of Jesustan. His overblown religious fervor and clear willingness to dispense with portions of the Constitution that become inconvenient are dangerous.

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 2 months ago

As an admitted Democrat I find Sam Brownback repugnant on many levels, not the least of which is his hyper religiosity. I find it sad that his election, barring some major upset, is almost assured. His election will be a step back to the days when the state's Board of Ed made us an international laughingstock and fodder for late night comedians. However because of his coziness with agri-business and other corporate special interests he will play in Peoria, so to speak. The little towns in central and western Kansas that still regret to this day the abolishment of prayer and corporal punishment in public schools will see him as the Second Coming. Kansas is a provincial state with provincial politics. The only thing good I have to say about Brownback being elected is thank the gods that I will be able to move from here by the time he gets halfway through his first term.

tomatogrower 8 years, 2 months ago

Brownback should pay attention to the Mass election. The people were voting against the status quo. Brownback is the status quo. I love this state, and never want to move, but if Brownback starts turning us into a theocracy, I'll leave. I don't want to be burned at the stake.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

As Brownback supporters have illustrated do not expect the Brownback campaign to run on the issues. Republican campaigns typically avoid the issues at all costs.

Brownback brings with him the economic theories of big oil such as the Koch brothers aka love to receive those big government tax dollars. That is what Kansas Club for Growth represents and yes the name is quite deceptive.

Then Grover Norquist comes to mind. The deficit hawk phonies aka the biggest tax dollar spenders of all times.

anon1958 8 years, 2 months ago

awrenceguy40 (anonymous) says...

Senator Sam Brownback has the experience, intellect, integrity and morality to make a great Governor of Kansas.

ROFLMAO. Seriously, you think he is intelligent? If you want a kinder gentler Taliban for governor because you believe in the false history of the United States of Christendom, then fine, you have that right. Brownback is by far the dumbest dufus I have ever had the privilige to meet, and after working at KU for 16 years and meeting many of the higher level administrators, thats going pretty far.

He has the morality of an ignorant camel herding nomad from a 5 thousand year old patriarchial tribe that did not even know what toilet paper is, and he is damn proud of that moral system and certainly will do everything he can to make you comply to it.

It really is possible to make matters worse in Kansas than the present situation and if the fools in this state elect Brownback for governor one can only hope there will be an Exodus.

ralphralph 8 years, 2 months ago

In my neck of the woods, the thinking is that Sebelius crippled the State economy and, ergo, the flow of tax revenue, with an agenda that was aimed at getting herself a job in DC. I don't really know, as of yet, what candidates plan to do what if elected Gov., but pledging to reverse those pro-Kathy/anti-Kansas policies and to de-Bremby-cize the State govt would be a good starting place.

straightforward 8 years, 2 months ago

If Senator Brownback "brings with him the economic theories of big oil such as the Koch brothers," then I can't wait to have him as my governor. The Koch's are extremely wealthy because they know how to run a business. Koch Industries is the largest private corporation in America. I wouldn't be surprised if they have created more jobs than any other entity in the state, with the exception of the teachers union.

I respect teachers and have had many great teachers in my life but they work eight hour days, with holidays and two months off in the summer, with little to no chance of being fired for poor performance because they have tenure. They don't think they are paid enough so they have their union lobby the state legislature for more money, which the administrators then waist. Those are the jobs Tom Holland will "create".

Merrill is right that Holland supports public schools but he doesn't support public education. Democrats can throw all the money they want at the schools but that doesn't improve the quality of education. We need a governor who will really help our state move forward by supporting charter schools and vouchers for parents to send their kids to the school of their choice.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully the race will focus on accomplishments. Brownback has been in the senate for a long time and really hasn't done much. Some symbolic bills about Darfur, helping african christian homophobes, and a seat-filler in the Family. But really, what has he done as a US senator?

I am not aware of Holland's record either. Hopefully these issues will be discussed.

Accomplishments do not matter to the Kansas Taliban. Ideology is more important, and as long as Brownback remains a Christian Taliban foot soldier, he will get the support of many in Kansas.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

The Koch Brothers love big government tax dollar subsidies as do all big oil people. Those who worship the Koch brothers actually worship big government socialism.

There is nothing fiscally conservative that a D.C. republican can bring to the Kansas statehouse. For that matter Kansas statehouse republicans are not fiscally conservatives. They are simply bad money managers.

This is what Brownback will bring to Topeka Policics:

Jan 14, 2009 ... The outgoing administration has presided over 8 years of disasters and ... George W. Bush's presidency cost the country about $11.5 trillion, if we estimate liberally. .... of which $10 billion was debt service between 2006 and 2008, ... Kogan estimated that Bush spent about $140 billion on related ...

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

What more can anti regulation Brownback bring to Topeka, Kansas?

Larry Summers,Alan Greenspan,Robert Ruben and Timothy Geitner all were warned about the potential financial disaster and did nothing to protect investors and/or real estate. Consequently 8 million or more lost jobs,millions of homes are on the repo list and the economy has gone to hell.

8 years of republican anti regulation allowed the economy to go down the tubes in spite of known concerns. It could have been averted.

It was noted that probably 90% of congress had no idea what derivatives are.

The Warning Feb. 16, 2010

Long before the economic meltdown, one woman regulator tried to warn about the threat to the financial system... Phil Gramm among others told her to stop meddling at the request of Larry Summers,Alan Greenspan and Robert Ruben. Greenspan now concedes he was wrong about no regulation.

wastewatcher 8 years, 2 months ago

Tom Holland is just another LIBERAL who the Democrat party pushed out of the way so LIBERL LAURA KELLEY could run for the US House and when they can.t find anyone to run for Governor, thet saddle him up. I doubt if if he has ever been to most of the state. I know real active Democrats who had never heard of him or seen him and they are not very excited by his candidacy.

tomatogrower 8 years, 2 months ago

ralphralph (anonymous) says... In my neck of the woods, the thinking is that Sebelius crippled the State economy and, ergo, the flow of tax revenue, with an agenda that was aimed at getting herself a job in DC.

Oh please. They have a short term memory. It was Graves who started the whole ball rolling on tax cuts after tax cuts. He did bring the state good highways, but it wasn't for us. It was so the trucking industry would give him a plush job when he finished his tenure. He blew a surplus, which could have been saved for a rainy day on tax cuts. Tax cuts that were suppose to attract business and create jobs, but that only made people like the Kochs richer. This revenue crisis started a long time ago.

thatonedude 8 years, 2 months ago

I find it amusing how criticism of Holland here has had nothing to do with the man himself, and all on the Democratic Party. Wastewatcher, for instance, capitalizes the word "liberal" like it's a terrifying red flag, and also doesn't seem to realize that Laura Kelly is no longer in the 2nd District race. Meanwhile, ComradeRedRooster makes their little jokes about how Holland is a socialist despite the fact that he's a small business owner. And where did that bit about a wind mill on every farm even come from? Besides your own paranoid psyche, I mean.

feeble 8 years, 2 months ago

thatonedude has an excellent point, in that Holland is a small business owner. I think the right will make a major tactical plunder if they attack Holland purely on National politics. Sure, it's a tautology, but local races are won on local issues.

leedavid 8 years, 2 months ago

Holland should not look to Mass. as an example for himself. No one will say he is charismatic in any stretch of the word. He hasn't done anything that has benifited the state and has a far left record. Mass. did not elect a far leftest they ran to the right. Here's what Holland should take away from Mass.. He is going to lose big.

situveux1 8 years, 2 months ago

Since when is an opinion piece worthy of being the front story on the LJW homepage?

leedavid 8 years, 2 months ago

Agnostick Quite a few folks have railed about Holland's "liberal record"... but I don't recall seeing any specific examples. Not surprising, since most here probably don't even live in his district. I suppose, if you like, you could run off to the Kansas GOP web site and copy/paste whatever talking points Amanda Adkins has put together for you. :)

For the third time in as many Holland articles in the LJWorld I will post Tom Hollands liberal voting record. He is down the line leftest from abortion to taxes and everything inbetween.

There ya go. No GOP talking points and I live in the district. And to ice the cake I have known Tom for and his wife for 11 years. Anything else I can do for you? LOL!

pace 8 years, 2 months ago

The republicans are stalling unemployment extension, health care reform and job development. They are doing this because they feel the most important thing is they get back into control, let the minions go into poverty while the corporations gain wealth.

Centerville 8 years, 2 months ago

The one who will get rid of those flunkies (including the hilariously named CURB) at the KCC will get my vote. Thanks to them, we're paying a huge price to get Sibileus out of here.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 2 months ago

Even though the very traditionally liberal state of Mass. made a turn for the better; I really doubt Lawrence is going to join the rest of our red state. Maybe someday if Lawrence-West (San Francisco) was to go red I'd believe there's a chance it could happen here. (Or if KU shut down and left.)

leedavid 8 years, 2 months ago

Pace....uh up until the last few weeks the democrats controlled congress and had all the votes they needed to get anything they wanted....but they fought each other and failed. They tried to buy each other and they are going to fail in November because they keep shooting each other in the foot. Republicans the party of no. Democrats the party of failure.

notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

beobachter (anonymous) says...

"Conservatives and morals = mutually exclusive terms. Can never exist in same sentence or context."

Luckily, Liberals have no such problem, as they have no morals to conflict with.

liar 8 years, 2 months ago

Will Brownback throw out that massively wasteful medicaid and medicare? That socialist agenda that the Republicans continue to support makes them no better than the democrats who want everyone to have medical care even if they can't pay for it. If we want the free market to be truly free then leave the insurance companies to the business of health care. They know best just like any business that creates jobs and profits for investors. If people can't save and make provision for their hard times then let them suffer the consequences. There are plenty of good Christians out there who want to save their souls. Knock yourself out but leave my hard earned money alone. I'd rather spend it on travel and other indulgences.

love2fish_ks 8 years, 2 months ago

This article passes for serious journalism? What a homer for Holland. What a joke. Holland doesn't stand a chance with dumb articles like this trying to prop him up. Come on LJWorld, rub 2 brain cells together and get a clue.

davidmcg 8 years, 2 months ago

The LJ World can't be serious with this one. Holland doesn't stand a chance. He is as much big government as Brownback and then some. Liar up above pretty much hit it. Leave healthcare and the insurance to those who know it. Let them make a profit for investors and create jobs and leave my money alone. If any of the Congress critters want to do anything they need to wean us off Medi-Care and Social Security. When Social Security was written it was only meant to supplement the income of the few who could actually beat the odds and outlive the life expectancy. It was not meant as a retirement income. They also need to open up the insurance industry and allow us to buy insurance across state lines like auto insurance. Next step would be to work on tort reform. Yea sometimes doctors need to be clobbered for their mistakes, but at the same time, lawyers should not be the big winner.

geekyhost 8 years, 2 months ago

Brown didn't win Mass because he said he'd vote no on health care. Mass already has health care, and the majority polled said they supported it. Brown won because Coakly didn't bother to show up and campaign. She sat on her laurels and didn't even spell Massachusetts right on campaign fliers.

So that pretty much means Brownback will win unless the vote gets split for some tea party candidate, and that won't happen because Brownback is redonkulously pro-morality laws and anti-spending, just like the teabaggers like it. It's the same fantastic combo that Bush did so well for eight years, and I look forward to raising my uninsurable kids in the emptied husk of a state he leaves behind.

Rex Russell 8 years, 2 months ago

Not sure I want Mr. Brownback back in Kansas. He was fine in Washington. Just another lock-step partisan politician. He was very predictable. Back here, he can screw more things up. He'll probably win on name recognition mostly. I agree this is probably his plan to use us as a stepping stone for a run at the White House. Personally for me, he stopped being a Kansan a long time ago. He got ate up by Washington and the GOP long ago. I could really do without him fine. Mr.Holland is a fine guy, sensible centrist-ish type. I don't know yet, I'd have to see them debate, but something about Brownback has always left a bad taste in my mouth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

Holland is primarily a centrist-- the kind that could just as easily be a Republican in this state, and a Democrat in a state that's a bit redder than Kansas is. I expect he chose to be a Democrat primarily because he lives in a somewhat Democratic leaning area.

Will he beat Brownback? Probably not-- he doesn't have state-wide name recognition, nor will he have enough money to create it by November.

Brownback will indeed be a disaster as governor, but I think his main purpose for running is that it gives him a different kind of platform to run for president again, and his base will consider his (further) destruction of social welfare programs and public education and even greater tax breaks to businesses and the wealthy will be seen as pluses. He's a very committed class warrior.

avoice 8 years, 2 months ago

Agnostick finally made the comment I've been waiting for. Sam Brownback's first move in promoting his own ego was to marry into politics so he could get a leg up. Anyone who was in or around Topeka in the mid-'80s should well remember where Sam got his start.

centrist1 8 years, 2 months ago

Comrade Red Rooster you're a idiot ..... you probably have a 6th grade diploma

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