Archive for Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kansas Democrats spar over who should be in race for Secretary of State

July 6, 2010


— An ongoing feud among Democrats in the Kansas Senate has spilled over into the party’s primary for secretary of state.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka e-mailed 27,000 Democrats last month, announcing his endorsement of incumbent Chris Biggs and urging fellow Sen. Chris Steineger of Kansas City to withdraw from the race.

Hensley, who has spent the better part of three decades in the Statehouse, said Democrats stood the best chance in more than 60 years of holding onto the secretary of state’s office. Biggs was appointed in March by Democrat Gov. Mark Parkinson to finish the unexpired term of Republican Ron Thornburgh, who left for a job in the private sector.

In his letter, Hensley noted the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission fined Steineger $5,000 in May for a campaign finance law violation.

The commission concluded Steineger violated a law restricting how campaign funds can be used. Twice last year, Steineger used his Senate campaign fund to pay for polls testing how well voters recognized his name for a potential run for statewide office. Kansas campaign finance laws prohibit the use of funds contributed for the purpose of one race to be used for another, in this case, Senate funds for a statewide campaign activities.

“Kansans deserve a secretary of state who understands the law, follows the law, and is committed to enforcing the law,” Hensley wrote.

Steineger dismissed Hensley’s letter, saying the two have clashed in recent years over issues and alliances Steineger made with non-Democrats. “I represent Wyandotte County, not a party boss,” Steineger said.

He vowed to stay in the race, calling Hensley “an old-school, Chicago-style” political boss who wants to dominate the state party.

He touts his 14 years in the Legislature and small-business background, as well as being able to work with other legislators in Topeka regardless of party.

Hensley said he doesn’t mind references to Chicago politics or Mayor Richard Daley, who was known for his bare-knuckles politics.

“I’m not a party boss, I’m a party leader. It’s my duty,” Hensley said.

Neither the Biggs campaign nor the Kansas Democratic Party would comment on Hensley’s letter.

The winner of the Aug. 3 primary faces the winner of a three-way Republican primary in the November general election.

One of those candidates, Kris Kobach, is the former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party and a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Hensley said Biggs was the best candidate to defeat Kobach in November, should the two emerge from the primaries Aug. 3.


BigDog 7 years, 10 months ago

Anthony Hensley left out that he doesn't like Chris Steineger because Steineger does not fall in line behind him at the Capitol and is too moderate for Anthony Hensley.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 10 months ago

Big Dog, you're right on. After the Dems saw the Queen of the Night leave for greener pastures in D.C. and thereafter observed Mark Parkinson demonstrating the kind of common-sense leadership she never did, the Dems should have realized that Steineger is ultimately Parkinson's natural successor and the most electable candidate they have for any statewide office. However, he's not a left-wing boot-polisher, and has courageously stood up to Hensley et al. before. They're afraid of him and have been trying to derail his career for some time now, and in so doing are foolishly failing to exploit the best candidate they have.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Steineger clearly has a Republican code of ethics (as in he doesn't have one.) He's running in the wrong primary.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 10 months ago

Gee, Bozo, if Mahatma Gandhi had been a Republican you'd still have hated him.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 10 months ago

Tange, since Gandhi was not an American citizen, the chances would have been, of course, Zero - which also happens to be the most appropriate nickname for the current occupant of the White House. I was simply making a point.

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