Archive for Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kansas Democrats trying to regroup after losses

November 28, 2010


— Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, always had a steep climb in the Legislature.

But that climb will be much steeper when the legislative session starts in January.

A political massacre at the polls on Election Day drastically reduced the number of Democrats in the House.

Before the election, Republicans held a 76-49 advantage. When the session starts, Republicans will have a 92-33 majority, the largest GOP margin in the House in 56 years. The GOP already had a 31-9 advantage in the Senate.

“We’re going to have less of an impact in the governing process than we have had in the past,” Davis said.

Since 2002, through the Democratic administrations of Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, Democrats despite being in the minority in the House and Senate, have been able to team up with moderate Republicans to cobble together just enough votes to approve several major initiatives.

For example, last year they passed a budget and 1-cent increase in the state sales tax.

“For all practical purposes, in this state for the last eight years, Democrats have been in charge,” Parkinson said in a recent interview. “Democrats should be proud.”

But significant election losses on Nov. 2 have destroyed that coalition.

Still, Davis said he held out hope.

“It’s still important that we bring issues to the table and cause a debate. You never know what kind of coalitions are going to be formed on different issues,” he said.

School funding is often cited as an example of an issue that defies political affiliation and centers more on regionalism.

Despite the dramatic political losses, Davis faces no challenge among Democrats in his leadership role.

Both Democrats and Republicans meet Dec. 6 to elect their legislative leaders.

There is some jockeying going on in other leadership races among House Democrats.

The current assistant minority leader, Jim Ward of Wichita, faces a challenge from Tom Burroughs of Kansas City, and Barbara Ballard of Lawrence faces a challenge from Mike Slattery of Mission for caucus chair. There are also a couple of open positions such as agenda chair and policy chair up for grabs.

On the Republican side of the House, Speaker Mike O’Neal of Hutchinson is unchallenged. A three-candidate race has developed for House majority leader among Arlen Siegfreid of Olathe, Richard Carlson of St. Marys and John Grange of El Dorado. The current majority leader, Ray Merrick of Stilwell, is heading to the Senate to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Colyer, who was elected lieutenant governor.

Siegfreid is the current House speaker pro tem. At least two candidates, Anthony Brown of Eudora and Virgil Peck of Tyro, are running for that position, and several other names have been mentioned.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Follow the Money!

WE VOTERS need to say NO MORE special interest funding of elections!!!

Let’s keep the costs down so many others can afford to run!

Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Lets’s demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America :

Demand an opportunity to vote this change into law on the next ballot.

Incumbents say NO to the voters and YES to corrupt special interest money.

We need public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Demand an opportunity to vote this change into law on the next ballot.

Who would be against Public Funding? The special interest money providers plus their bought and paid for politicians!

When will the media get on the the band wagon for public financing of all elected political offices? Local,state and national elections YES. Let’s keep the costs down so many others can afford to run!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

"Who would be against Public Funding?" The mope who currently lives at 1600 Penn Ave. comes to mind. BTW, a search for "Who would be against Public Funding?" + merrill = 221 hits.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 6 months ago

The problem wasn't with local Democrats like Parkinson and McKinney, it is with the tone deaf policies of Obama and Pelosi at the national level. The party cannot embrace the radical policies that have turned Europe into a financial nightmare and expect to survive.

63BC 7 years, 6 months ago

Well said, Snap.

It was candidate Obama who ended forever public financing of Presidential elections when he went back on his explicit promise to accept the expenditure limits that come with it. John McCain learned the folly of unilateral disarmament, and admitted to that precise mistake afterwards. No major party nominee will ever opt into that system again.

Public financing of elections is a bad idea generally, but the answer to the question "who killed it?" is "the guy who pledged to be for it"---then-Senator Obama.

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