Archive for Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Business lobby, aided by $36,000 from Koch Industries, targets eight Republican incumbents in state Senate for defeat

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support to challengers of eight moderate Republican senators. Clockwise from left, Tim Owens, Overland Park; Carolyn McGinn, Sedgwick; Terrie Huntington, Fairway; Steve Morris, Hugoton; Vicki Schmidt, Topeka; John Vratil, Leawood; Jean Schodorf, Wichita, and Pete Brungardt, Salina.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support to challengers of eight moderate Republican senators. Clockwise from left, Tim Owens, Overland Park; Carolyn McGinn, Sedgwick; Terrie Huntington, Fairway; Steve Morris, Hugoton; Vicki Schmidt, Topeka; John Vratil, Leawood; Jean Schodorf, Wichita, and Pete Brungardt, Salina.

January 10, 2012, 10:57 a.m. Updated January 10, 2012, 7:54 p.m.


— Two business heavyweights — the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Koch Industries — have targeted eight state senators for defeat in the Republican Party primary.

“During the difficult economic downturn, while businesses were tightening their belts to survive, some in the Kansas Senate opted for tax increases instead of responsible spending cuts,” Chamber Political Action Chairman Ivan Crossland said Tuesday.

“Bloated state budgets, increased taxes and growing union and trial lawyer support are not the ingredients for private sector job creation. The candidates we have chosen to support are willing to do what it takes to turn things around in Kansas,” Crossland said.

The Chamber said a majority of Republicans in the Kansas House and Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, support a pro-business agenda.

The Chamber PAC’s campaign finance report filed Tuesday illustrates the effort by Brownback’s supporters to wrest control of the Senate from so-called moderate Republicans. The Chamber PAC collected $163,000 in contributions last year with the biggest donors being Koch Industries, which contributed more than $36,000. Among other large contributors was The Lawrence Paper Co., $15,000; and Murfin Drilling Co., $10,000.

The Chamber PAC donated $1,000 and made in-kind contributions to eight Republican challengers, including to state Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City, who is challenging Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

Asked to respond to the chamber’s comments, Morris said, “I am proud of my conservative, pro-jobs, pro-business record in the Kansas Senate.

“I have fought to create jobs in my district and in our state — jobs like the Sunflower power plant and Abenoga ethanol facility. Jobs will continue to be one of my top priorities as the 2012 legislative session begins.”

The other incumbent GOP senators whose challengers received maximum contributions from the Chamber PAC are Pete Brungardt, of Salina; Terrie Huntington, of Fairway; Carolyn McGinn, of Sedgwick; Tim Owens, of Overland Park; Vicki Schmidt, of Topeka; Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, and John Vratil of Leawood.

Legislators in 2010, who supported an increase in the state sales tax, said it was necessary to avoid damaging cuts in schools, social services and public safety. The increase has also helped fund the state highway plan. The chamber opposed the tax increase and is now, along with Brownback, pushing for tax cuts.


verity 6 years ago

Time to register as a Republican and vote in the primaries. If this state goes any further to the right it will fall off the cliff.

Armstrong 6 years ago

"Bloated state budgets, increased taxes and growing union and trial lawyer support are not the ingredients for private sector job creation". I agree however.....

If the budget was bloated why is there a surplus in state revenue ?

How did these R's support the unions and trial lawyers, that's pretty much a 180 from republicans stance.

Didn't the school system, the arts, Family planning to name a few get massive budget cuts? Those seem like spending cuts to me.

Sounds like some fact checking needs to be done. This looks like a hit and run article to me.

Armstrong 6 years ago

You're joking right ? I don't dispute the chamber is doing something. I do dispute the rest of the article.The quotation marks from the top of my post mean that came from the article. I question bloated state budgets, R's supporting unions and no budget cuts. That was the whole point of the post. That is called reeding compreehenshun

littlexav 6 years ago

No, you quoted from a quotation from Chamber PAC's chairman. There's some "reeding compreehenshun" for you.

question4u 6 years ago

In 2010, Kent Beisner of the The Kansas Chamber of Commerce characterized Kansas school children as pigs at a trough. This mentality seems not to have changed. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has no qualms about presenting itself as anti-education, anti-public safety and anti-worker's rights.

Thankfully the Chamber's mouthpieces don't speak for all business owners. There's nothing wrong with a pro-business mentality, but that doesn't have to mean rejecting the public good.

cowboy 6 years ago

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average 6 years ago

If some of these do get primaried out, I'd be interested to see Morris or Schodorf try their hand at getting the Dem nomination against Brownback (or as Lt. Gov, a la Moore and Parkinson). Both have school board histories and as good a name recognition as anyone the Dems are likely to run from in-house.

verity 6 years ago

While that is an interesting idea, I doubt that either of them have a chance in hell to be governor running on a Democratic ticket.

I don't think the Lt Gov has much power and I doubt Brownback would choose either of them anyway.

I still think the best route is to work to make sure they make it through the primaries. If they don't and the legislature is taken over by the radicals, it may not matter a whole lot if we do have a moderate governor.

We also need to encourage Sandy Praeger to run against Brownback in the primary. At this point, I think she is the only person who could beat him. And if she can't beat him in the primary, she could run as an independent.

But those are just my ideas. I'm sure there are many others and I would like to hear them.

Steve Jacob 6 years ago

Governor candidates come from people who have won state wide elections. Considering we have no Democrat who fits that category, we are screwed. Best shot is convince Preger (or Ron Thornburgh) to switch sides.

verity 6 years ago

"Governor candidates come from people who have won state wide elections."

I hadn't thought of that and it's a good point.

Bob Forer 6 years ago

Beating a right wing Republican incumbent in a kansas primary is a tall task. Voter turnout is usually horrendous except for the far right anti-abortion crowd, which is very well organized. Sandy would fare better switching parties and running against Brownback as a Democrat in the general election. That is exactly the reason Paul Morrison switched parties and ran as a Democrat instead of challenging Kline in the republican primary.

verity 6 years ago

Another good point. Could Ms Praeger run against Brownback in the primary and then if she loses, run as a Democrat or Independent in the general?

Some years ago in a district north of Wichita some of the voters wanted to scare the pro-choice Republican representative for being too liberal, so they voted for her extremist opponent in the primary, not expecting him to win. He won by a few points which scared the bejeezus out of many of the voters. They persuaded the incumbent to run as a write-in candidate against him and she won.

Brock Masters 6 years ago

Why no good democrats to run against Brownback?

Jeff Zamrzla 6 years ago

that cool-aid your drinking must taste pretty good. Do you see things that aren't there as well? Because your sure hearing things that aren't true. Democrats tend to be less paranoid but just as tight with money in Kansas. In addition, Kansas has been a "right to work (for less)" state since the mid-1950's. You may see that as a good thing, but if you ask someone who is getting no benefits on their job if they'd join a union for the benefits, I know the answer would be, "sign me up!" Unions have given us our idea of what a modern society looks like. Either you are not very well educated on the issues or you don't care enough to learn. Lazy people shouldn't complain about stuff they're too lazy to learn about.

jafs 6 years ago

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Norquist is connected to this - he likes to target moderate Republicans and replace them with conservatives.

pinecreek 6 years ago

Gotta love their sense of history....2012 Republican Primary = Night of the Long Knives. Must eliminate the non-believers.

Ike 6 years ago

Ironically, Ivan Crossland and his family's construction company have made millions of dollars off of public building projects - many at Pittsburg State Univ and SE Kansas community colleges and K-12 schools. Ivan is now looking to rid the KS Senate of the pro-public education members he has profited from.

Armstrong 6 years ago

That makes no sense. Facts must be in short supply for this article

Mark Currie 6 years ago

I have been to a few "Chamber" functions. I thought it gave the members a time to act like the social elite, dress up, and drink cocktails with their pinky extended. Oh yeah, & make sure Lawrence nor the state get any of that nasty heavy industry. Please flame away.

BigDog 6 years ago

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has become an arm of Koch Industries and their ilk. There is a reason why a sizeable number of local chambers of commerce has withdrawn from the state chamber including Johnson County.

Ike 6 years ago

There is NO reason any local chamber of commerce, especially one with a state university in town, should belong to the KS Chamber. I hope the Lawrence Chamber has dropped its membership.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

Witness the division of the Republican party.

Vote for the third party candidate, the democrat!

JustNoticed 6 years ago

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Paul R Getto 6 years ago

Perhaps. The Koch brothers have money and use it wisely. They only have two votes in the end when they go to the polls. "We the people (sheeple?)" can counteract this, but it takes patience, learning about the issues and then actually voting. Douglas County seems to have 100% who gripe and about 20% who actually vote when they can. Until this is corrected, things will not change much. The August primary will be critical to both sides of the bifurcated Republican Party. Let us hope people show up to vote all across the state.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

This is how it worked in Washington D.C.

Now what is missing in the republican party?


These 8 that which are RINO targets did not roll over for Brownback which is why the repub party wants to replace these republicans. Gov Sam Brownback brought this tactic home with him.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Yes the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is a PAC for Koch and RINO's just like the National Chamber of Commerce.

Orwell 6 years ago

Climate change better get here soon, because the new Talibanana Republic of Kansas isn't tropical enough to grow bananas yet.

pace 6 years ago

If people vote for Koch's flunkies, then yes, Kansas has lost their mind.

Maddy Griffin 6 years ago

If "we the people" of Kansas allow this, are we not complicit?

mloburgio 6 years ago

"Republican Tea Party Contract on America"

  1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)
  2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether
  3. End Medicare as it presently exists
  4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil
  5. Repeal Wall Street Reform
  6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes
  7. Abolish the Department of Education
  8. Abolish the Department of Energy
  9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency
  10. Repeal the 17th Amendment

mloburgio 6 years ago

How strong is Sam Brownback's tea? “If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas.”

“In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Obama’s health-care law.”

Read more here:

Mike Ford 6 years ago

not enough ideological purity eh? when was the last time any political party worried about purity? want a hint? if I tell you tos kicks in.....

seriouscat 5 years, 11 months ago

How easily some people are duped into forgetting the other parts of the Constitution while they herald the wisdom and altruism of those who would "protect" only the convenient parts:

irvan moore 6 years ago

what a great idea, lower va hospital budgets and give less than promised (owed) to those who gave most.

Joe Hyde 6 years ago

I suspect the Koch brothers and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce have targeted these eight moderate Republicans because each had the personal and political integrity to turn down Koch-funded "scholarships" to attend meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

It could be partly personal, too: Female staffers at ALEC and the KCofC are feeling insecure because each one of these moderate Kansas Republican female legislators is not only cuter than Sarah Palin but four times smarter than Michelle Bachmann.

fearthetaliban 6 years ago

How does the AMC appx $40,000,000+ tax abatements work into this plan of a smaller more ROI based gov't?

Carol Bowen 6 years ago

We have a very sick political system in Kansas.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

RINO's like one party rule...... and don't ask questions!

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