Archive for Monday, August 6, 2012

GOP moderates in Kansas may get help from Democrats

August 6, 2012, 4:34 p.m. Updated August 6, 2012, 4:45 p.m.


— Moderate Republicans who are trying to retain control of the Kansas Senate are likely to get help from Democrats who've temporarily switched parties to vote against conservative challengers in GOP primary races, the state Democratic Party's leader said Monday.

State Chairwoman Joan Wagnon said Kansas Democratic Party officials have seen hundreds of people change their party affiliations to the GOP in counties with contested Senate races on Tuesday's primary ballot. The state GOP allows only registered Republicans to vote in its primaries.

Wagnon said Democrats were trying to pin down firm figures on the party switchers, but she believes it's a significant number.

Voter registration numbers from Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office also suggested such a trend is possible. The number of registered Republicans, unaffiliated and total voters is higher than at the same point in 2010, but the number of registered Democrats has declined.

A majority of the state Senate's 40 districts and the House's 125 districts had contested primaries, but the hottest races in Kansas were a dozen contests in which a moderate GOP senator faced a more conservative challenger. Conservatives hoped to oust the incumbents and end moderate Senate leaders' ability to stymie moves to the right in fiscal and social policy.

"All kinds of people see that there's a huge threat with the loss of the Senate, so they're switching over," Wagnon said.

Kansas has about 1.7 million registered voters and when registration for the primary closed in mid-July, the number was seven-tenths of 1 percent higher than in mid-July 2010. Republican registrations were up 2.3 percent and unaffiliated registrations up 3.7 percent.

But Democratic registrations were 5 percent lower in mid-July than in mid-July 2010. And figures from Kobach's office showed that Democratic registrations dropped after July 1.

Clay Barker, the state GOP's executive director, said the numbers may reflect the Republican Party's dominance in Kansas politics, with GOP primary contests settling some races. He's not sure party switching is widespread and said it's been happening since Kansas began holding primaries more than a century ago.

"It's always a concern," he said. "It does irk me that people come into the party to screw up the results within the party and then leave."

Moderate GOP senators joined Democrats in resisting Gov. Sam Brownback's successful push to cut state income taxes this year. The bipartisan coalition in the Senate has prevented Brownback's fellow conservatives from going as far as they'd like toward lessening the political influence of labor unions, remaking the appellate courts and moving new public employees into a 401(k)-style pension plan.

The state's largest teachers' union and other labor groups were working with GOP moderates, and some Democrats said their party's members were switching their voter registrations to influence Republican races. The powerful Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the anti-tax, small-government group Americans for Prosperity were backing conservatives' efforts to remake the Senate.

Still, Kobach was predicting that only 18 percent of the state's 1.7 million registered voters — about 310,000 — would cast ballots. Republicans generally believe a low turnout favors conservatives.


Brad Greenwood 5 years, 8 months ago

Careful! Now that Kobach's wise to us, he'll make up some new set of voting laws to put an end to it.

Grump 5 years, 8 months ago

I predict that red and blue drivers licenses are next.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

I stay with R's all the time. Have even voted for a few, including Reagan. Besides trying to drive a stake in the heart of the worst vampire in each primary election, you get wonderful mail from the RNC.

nekansan 5 years, 8 months ago

"The state GOP allows only registered Republicans to vote in its primaries." This is not totally correct. State law allows independents and unaffiliated voters to register as republican the day of the primary and vote for the republican primary. It is only currently registered Democrats that are excluded.

tomatogrower 5 years, 8 months ago

It is legal and ethical. If you don't like it, why don't you Republicans have a caucus and pick your candidates, then we taxpayers don't have to pay for your primary.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 8 months ago

Republicans tend to have jobs thus they generally do not have the time to switch parties to vote against someone.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

You seem to have a lot of time to post comments online.

It only takes a few minutes to switch parties online.

StirrrThePot 5 years, 8 months ago

Weak. I registered online during the weekend. BUZINGA!

Steve Jacob 5 years, 8 months ago

Kobach gave money to Anthony Brown and he will get a ton of money to knock off Tom Holland.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

"temporarily switched parties to vote against"

That's pretty lame.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

Not really. It's a very wise move. If the Republicans can play the system so can the Dems.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

In a state like KS, where Democrats have little chance of winning most elections, the only way for folks to fight against the conservative takeover of our state may be to vote in the R primaries for the less conservative candidate.

If elected officials are supposed to represent our entire state, then it seems like a perfectly fine thing to do to me.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 8 months ago

I've done this for over 30 years and this is before the hostage takeover of the republican party. Too many Kansans are allergic to the "democratic" label, but are truly moderates. I will vote for them every time I can in the primaries.

sinkorswim 5 years, 8 months ago

I've always been registered as a republican, but have never voted a straight ticket. I'm voting in the primary to support the moderates...although in the general I'll be casting some votes for democrats. Tom Holland is definitely one! I'd love to live in Kansas again, rather than the Brownbackistan currently in the works.

lgrant 5 years, 8 months ago

So correct, Autie. I only have one vote, it is all mine and I chose to use it for a moderate incumbent and a vote against Brownie and his groupies. This has been the worst 3 1/2 weeks of my life but as of tomorrow I will be back in the light.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

I didn't switch parties too screw with the results. In my disrtict there is only a choice between a moderate and an extreme right Republican for state representative. Nobody else is running. So I should not get to vote on who represents me?

Screw you, Clay Barker.

StirrrThePot 5 years, 8 months ago

Today, I voted "no RINOs". These extremist jerks can't even get along with their own party, get them out of here!

Besides verity has a good point. If you don't have much of a choice, you make the best decision you can with what you have, make your voice be heard and your vote count for something. We don't need these people who are only interested in lining their own pockets while being puppets for the Koch Brothers.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Anybody else notice the last sentence?

Republicans generally believe a low turnout favors conservatives.

Hmm - that would mean that if more people vote, and the elections more truly represent the "will of the people" (or a bit closer to that), conservatives would lose.

So, KS is in fact a more moderate state, not a strongly conservative one, as is often claimed.

And they said it themselves!

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Read the comment again, and try to understand it.

If a "low turnout" favors conservatives, that means that a higher one wouldn't, which means that KS is a more moderate than conservative state.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

And, yet, for many years we've had a coalition of moderate Democrats and Republicans in charge, and several Democratic governors.

But, that's ok, keep believing whatever you like to believe, in spite of evidence, and even statements from Republicans.

That seems to be what many on the right like to do these days.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

Here's a high and hearty up the flag pole to Clay Barker!
Isn't it annoying when the riff raff comes in and screws up your neatly paid for election?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 8 months ago

Cast my vote at 9:15 this morning. I was the 21st person to cast my ballot at my polling station which had moved since last year. Come On People! We can do better! Get out and vote! Our future depends on it. Your vote does Count! Say no to Voter Apathy!

lunacydetector 5 years, 8 months ago

the dirty tricks the democrats play it's no wonder they are against showing a photo's also too bad some democrats run as republicans to get elected. shouldn't they be called liberal republicans?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

What a whiner. Want me to call the waaambulance?

voevoda 5 years, 8 months ago

It used to be that there were a lot of liberal Republicans. Eisenhower, for example. Now, the radical rightists are driving all the reasonable people out of the Republican Party. It's the best thing the radical rightists can do--for the Democratic Party. The people they alienated become Democrats and win elections that way.

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