Archive for Saturday, June 23, 2012

Democrats: Chances better with redrawn 2nd District

June 23, 2012


Robert Eye, left, and Tobias Schlingensiepen share a laugh earlier this month before speaking to Douglas County Democrats at the Lawrence Public Library.

Robert Eye, left, and Tobias Schlingensiepen share a laugh earlier this month before speaking to Douglas County Democrats at the Lawrence Public Library.

Scott Barnhart

Scott Barnhart

Now that Democratic-leaning Douglas County is entirely in the 2nd Congressional District, Democrats say they perceive an opportunity.

The 2nd is represented by Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from Topeka, who is seeking re-election to a third two-year term.

Ten years later, legislators were unable to agree on new redistricting maps, so a panel of three federal judges united Douglas County and put it all in the 2nd.

That has changed the profile of the 2nd, according to 2010 voter registration figures.

It has gone from a district where 41.7 percent of voters were registered Republicans, 28.8 percent Democratic and 28.7 percent independent to one that is 39.8 percent Republican, 30.3 percent Democratic and 29.2 percent independent.

Jenkins’ 13 percentage point edge in Republican registered voters over Democrat registered voters has decreased to 9.5 percentage points.

Three Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination in the Aug. 7 primary. They are Robert Eye, a Lawrence attorney; the Rev. Tobias Schlingensiepen, a Topeka minister; and Scott Barnhart, an Ottawa farmer.

“The map is as good as it has ever been,” Eye said of the redrawn 2nd District.

Eye said the future of the middle class is at stake in the November election.

“Republicans say lower taxes for the rich. Republicans protect health insurance companies at all costs. Those are not solutions that we can afford,” Eye said. “Solutions don’t necessarily have to make the rich richer and concentrate political power in fewer and fewer hands.”

Schlingensiepen said the 2nd is a politically diverse district that requires someone who will buck party leaders in Washington, D.C. Jenkins, he argues, has been too beholden to Republican leadership in the U.S. House.

“Kansas needs a voice, not an echo,” he said.

Schlingensiepen also said the Democratic nominee will need to reach out to independents and moderate Republicans to win the 2nd.

Barnhart said for a Democrat to win in the 2nd, the candidate must appeal to the middle class, which he said is being hit by both the right and left.

“People on the right want tax breaks, and people on the left want handouts. The middle class — we end up paying for it all,” he said. Kansans want to help out people in need, he said, “but they don’t want people to get dependent on the government, and they don’t like shipping jobs overseas and billionaires buying elections.”

Barnhart ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2004, Franklin County commissioner in 2008 and the state House in 2010.

Jenkins, a former state legislator and state treasurer, said that despite the changes in the district, she is confident she can hold on to her job.

“While it’s difficult to say, given her Democrat opponents haven’t publicly taken any policy positions at this point, we’re guessing that 2nd District Kansans will continue to agree more with Congresswoman Jenkins than whichever Democrat should emerge,” said Jenkins’ campaign spokesman Pat Leopold.

Leopold said Jenkins is glad to have Douglas County wholly in the 2nd, saying that uniting Lawrence and also bringing Montgomery County in southeast Kansas into the 2nd “are both common-sense solutions.”

“She enjoyed representing those ‘new’ areas previously when she was state treasurer and would be honored to again represent them as their member of Congress,” Leopold said.

But during the redistricting battle in the Legislature, there were Democrats and Republicans who said Jenkins was pushing for congressional boundaries that would have placed all of Douglas County in the 3rd, and put urban, Democratic Wyandotte County in the mostly rural 1st.

But Jenkins defenders had said they wanted to keep Manhattan in the 2nd because Jenkins was better positioned to protect funding of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility that has been proposed to built at Kansas State University. The judges, however, put Manhattan in the 1st and erased the division in Douglas County.


Mike1949 5 years, 11 months ago

Scott Barnhart is obviously from the far right. This article is just more propaganda from the far right. From Mr. Barnhart, all old people and the poor working minimum wage jobs want hand outs. That is such a discriminatory statement that is typical of UN-American right wingers who believe in take the constitution and the equal treatment of all Americans and dispose of it and start over with a Hitler style of government.

The American people are getting tired of these people who trash our Bill of Rights and openly discrimate against anyone who does not follow their privilege style of government. When is the American people going to wake up to these anti-American values?

It just proves my point, it is time for Kansans to take back their state from these fanatics!

John Kyle 5 years, 11 months ago

Barnhart: “People on the right want tax breaks, and people on the left want handouts. The middle class — we end up paying for it all,”

What a gross misunderstanding of terminology.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Barnhart comes off as a Brownback RINO trying to infiltrate the democratic party which must taken into account. This approach is how RINO's took over the GOP which is now dead.

George_Braziller 5 years, 11 months ago

Barnhart has run three times and never won. Does he think that the results of the fourth attempt will come out any differently?

"Barnhart ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2004, Franklin County commissioner in 2008 and the state House in 2010."

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 11 months ago

Lynn Jenkins fought hard to keep all of Lawrence out of her district, and now she is happy about it and thinks it is a common sense solution.

I think she is admitting that what she said before was not common sense. That exlains lot about her.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

Schlingensiepen and Eye are both excellent candidates-- let's hope that they don't split the sane vote enough to allow Barnhart to win.

Mike Ford 5 years, 11 months ago

Please just put someone out there who commands enough respect to attract the people who are looking for a competent replacement for the Joker......gotta love that woman's smile? a recent real clear politics poll puts the Democrats ahead of the GOP in five of the seven polls with an advantage range between 1.6 and 7 percentage points for a generic congressional vote. Only the rasmussen poll which is always in the bag for the GOP and USA Today favor the dumblicans. empirical information from outside of the Kansas GOP propaganda box.

63BC 5 years, 11 months ago

Empirical information:

In twenty Congressional elections held in Kansas between 1970 and 2008 [inclusive], the Kansas Democratic Party won zero seats twice [1994, 1996]; exactly one seat ten times [1970 and 1972---Roy, 1974---Keys, 1978 and 1980---Glickman, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2008---Moore]; and actually won two us House seats eight times [1976---Keys and Glickman; 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992---Glickman and Slattery; 2006---Boyda and Moore]

Even the two times Democrats lost out during this span [1994 and 1996] they recruited credible candidates who ran strongly. In 1994, they had Glickman as an eight term incumbent and Carlin as a two-term former Governor. Both lost in the GOP wave, but Glickman only narrowly [Carlin lost by more than thirty points to freshman Sam Brownback].

In 1996, Democrats achingly lost three US House races by single digits [Biggert to Snowbarger; Frieden to Ryun; Rathbun to Tiahrt]. So even in the years they came up short, Kansas Democrats were a strong credible force in Congressional elections for four decades.

In 2010, they again recruited two solid candidates---Stephene Moore [wife of six-term incumbent Dennis] and State Rep. Raj Goyle [native of Wichita, former Duke student body President] Each raised around a million dollars. However, Kansas Democrats turned in easily their worst performance in two generations as every single Democratic federal candidate went down by margins exceeding twenty points.

It was, empirically, the worst performance by Kansas Democrats in US House elections in over 40 years.

In 2012, it's gotten worse. None of the Democratic candidates are credible, all are starting much too late and two GOP incumbents lack any Democratic opposition, including freshman Kevin Yoder who represents the only district Kansas Democrats have held for more than one term since the 1994 wave.

The bottom has fallen out on Kansas Democrats in federal elections, and those are the empirical data to prove it, tuschkahouma.

It can only improve for them from here, because this is rock bottom.

Mike Ford 5 years, 11 months ago

please just give us a person who will gain enough respect to overturn the moribund representation of the last couple of elections. according to a generic congressional favorability poll on the real clear politics website Democrats lead the GOP in five of the seven polls shown by a margin of 1.6 to 7 percentage points with Rasmussen and USA Today being the only polls where the GOP had an advantage. This is empirical information that flies in the face of Kansas GOP propaganda.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 11 months ago

...and if Obamacare gets thrown out, I do hope they call up Romney and ask what he will do about the skyrocketing cost of heath care? No good options.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

It's extremely unlikely that the law will be completely upheld, or completely stricken as unconstitutional.

The much more likely outcome is that the individual mandate, and a few other provisions, perhaps, are stricken, while the vast majority is upheld.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 11 months ago

No way Jenkins gets defeated this year. Maybe down the road.

CLARKKENT 5 years, 11 months ago


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