Topeka Two Republican House members -- Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt -- vying to replace U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., debated Friday over who would do a better job of representing Kansas.
“I get things done,” Tiahrt said, reiterating several times that Kansas couldn’t have “timid” representation.
Moran, however, said he understood better what Kansans needed, and that he wasn’t afraid to vote against his party leaders in order to serve Kansas. “Who I am beholden to are the people of this state,” he said.
The two participated in a forum sponsored by the Kansas Chamber before more than 100 people at the Topeka Country Club.
Moran has represented the 1st congressional district since 1997 and Tiahrt has represented the 4th congressional district since 1995.
Both are seeking the Republican nomination to replace Brownback, who is running for governor.
On most topics during the forum, Moran and Tiahrt were in accord. They agreed the economy was the top issue and criticized President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats over health care, energy and increased federal debt.
But when asked how they were different from one another, Tiahrt said, “I’m a conservative, Jerry is a moderate.” Tiahrt described himself as someone who fights hard for Kansas interests.
But Moran said the traditional moderate and conservative labels didn’t apply to the race. Moran said both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the nation’s problems, and when Republicans were in the majority, he was willing to buck GOP leaders and vote against No Child Left Behind, creation of the Homeland Security agency and the Medicare prescription drug bill.
“We are willing to say no to things that are wrong, regardless,” he said.
A third Republican candidate for Senate announced on Friday. Robert Londerholm of Olathe is the new candidate. He served as Kansas attorney general from 1965-69. The only declared Democratic candidate is Charles Schollenberger, a former newspaper reporter and editor, from Prairie Village.