Archive for Thursday, August 8, 2013

House Democratic Leader Davis forms gubernatorial campaign committee

August 8, 2013, 2:12 p.m. Updated August 8, 2013, 5:11 p.m.


— Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Democrat from Lawrence, today confirmed he may challenge Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in next year's election.

Davis filed paperwork with the Kansas secretary of state's office necessary to create a gubernatorial campaign committee and raise money to run for governor.

"I will make a formal announcement about my plans in the coming weeks," Davis said. "Until then, I look forward to engaging the people of Kansas in a discussion about our shared vision for our state."

Davis appointed former state Rep. William Kassebaum of Burdick as his campaign treasurer. Kassebaum is the son of former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and grandson of former Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, all of them Republicans.

Davis said of his treasurer, "Bill and his family have a long record of moderate, bipartisan leadership in Kansas. This is exactly what Kansans want in Topeka."

Because Democrats are heavily outnumbered in Kansas, a statewide Democratic candidate must attract unaffiliated and moderate Republican voters.

Davis, 41, became leader of House Democrats in 2008. He was first elected to the House in 2003.

Before becoming a legislator, Davis, an attorney, worked for the Kansas Bar Association and for the Kansas Department of Insurance when former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, was insurance commissioner. Sebelius is now secretary of Health and Human Services in President Barack Obama's cabinet.

Davis received his bachelor's degree from Kansas University and his law degree from Washburn University.

In recent years, Davis has been highly critical of Brownback's tax policies.

Brownback has pushed for and signed into law lower income tax rates, eliminating income taxes for nearly 200,000 business owners, removing deductions designed to help low- and middle-income Kansans, and in the recent session, a sales tax increase to offset some of the lost tax revenue.

Brownback has said the tax changes will improve the economy. Critics, including Davis, say the changes increase the tax burden on the poor while benefitting the wealthy and will lead to budget shortfalls that will hurt schools and social services. Thinks tanks across the political spectrum have been critical of the Brownback tax changes.

But David Kensinger, who is president of Brownback's political action committee, said Brownback will run on his record of cutting taxes, balancing the state budget and job creation.

"We're focused on building a campaign that can share with every Kansan, Governor Brownback's record of accomplishment," Kensinger said.

Davis represents the first major Democrat to step forward as a possible candidate against Brownback, who easily won election in 2010 against another Douglas County legislator, state Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City. Before becoming governor, Brownback served in the U.S. Senate and unsuccessfully ran for president in 2007.

In recent weeks, other high-profile Democrats said they didn't plan to run for governor.

After Davis issued his news release, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, and whose district includes a portion of Douglas County, said that if Davis decides to run "I will support him in every way possible."

Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan, who was a legislative liaison with Sebelius, said Davis always works "to bring people together and do what is best for our state, and we absolutely do need that kind of leadership in the governor's office."

Hensley said, "I believe Kansans want a common sense, politically moderate leader in the governor's office right now, and Paul Davis would give Kansans that choice."

On Twitter, the group Fund Our Schools said of Davis' announcement, "This is great news for public education in Kansas!! Let's get ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work!" Meanwhile, the Kansas Republican Party said Davis was "the opponent we wished for."


Dont_Tread_On_Me 4 years, 4 months ago

I know its not April 1st, so I have to ask: is this a joke?

Bob Reinsch 4 years, 4 months ago

No. The joke is on us, sponsored by the Koch Brothers, and gift wrapped by Americans for (Billionaire) Prosperity.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 4 months ago

This is good news. For Davis to win, he will need to build a coalition of democrats and moderate republicans in Johnson County, Lawrence, Topeka, Wyandotte, and Wichita, and also get some support in select rural areas like Hays, Southeast Kansas, Garden City, and Goodland.

It can be done.

markgreene69 4 years, 4 months ago

That's the attitude that Kansas needs to elect Representative Paul Davis our next governor! Let's WIN in 2014!

Bobby Burch 4 years, 4 months ago

Davis is a great candidate! He already has my vote.

somebodynew 4 years, 4 months ago

Pheps - the only digging BB is doing is burying all of us regular folk.

Hooligan_016 4 years, 4 months ago

@Pheps, is this what Kansas Republicans truly believe?

Cheryl Nelsen 4 years, 4 months ago

Why is it when someone wants to criticize Kansas politics they drag out Obamacare? Get over it. Look at some things that are happening on the state level. The only person digging a hole is Brownback, and I don't want to climb into it with him.

myopinion 4 years, 4 months ago

Why don't you say something Brownback has done to help Kansas instead of using Obama as a distraction? And I mean all Kansans.

leaningleftist 4 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure they do, just tow the line and ignore reality. Or are just self serving.

jimmyjms 4 years, 4 months ago

It would be awesome if you had a single factual clue about anything.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 4 months ago

Because Kansas CANNOT afford one more day of the ALEC Right Wing Party.

IreneAdler84 4 years, 4 months ago

Paul is a great public servant. He has my vote and I will work hard to convince others downstate to vote for him.

BigDog 4 years, 4 months ago

So the plan is to draw in moderate Republicans with a liberal Democrat?

This may be the thinking that keeps shrinking the number of Democrats in the Kansas Legislature. It is already a 3 to 1 ratio ... pretty soon it will be just just Anthony Hensley leading himself.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 4 months ago

The sooner he announces his candidacy, the sooner I will contribute to it. Beating Brownback will take more than anger and desire for a different governor with better ideas. It will take money.

Money will be key to a Brownback defeat. Davis doesn't need to outspend Brownback (that would likely be impossible), but he will need to keep close in the money game. Contribute early, contribute often.

leaningleftist 4 years, 4 months ago

Even moderates hate brownbackwards, if kansasans aren't stupid or to rich to care davis should be able to pull this off.

Alceste 4 years, 4 months ago

When push comes to shove; when the rubber meets the road; when closer scrutiny is implemented one can only conclude that Mr. Davis really isn't that much different than anyone else in the Kansas legislature.

He's as much on the take and looking out for himself first as any of the others. One simply needs to look at how he has handled his personal KPERS elections as a legislator: Even though Paul Davis could have elected to sign up for the KPERS for legislators program and earn benefits strictly for the days the legislature is in session, Paul Davis elected to pay himself based on the absurd 372 day year such that he'll be pulling down one heck of a KPERS retirement benefit when he retires from the legislature.

Legislators pay themselves very differently than anyone else in the state's retirement plan. Here's how it goes:

And, did everyone know that our ever so dedicated Legislators in Topeka participate in KPERS, too? After all, they're state workers also. But, guess what? These legislators set up a very special system for how they get their KPERS benefits. Here it is in a nutshell:

Legislators have given themselves one heck of a sweetheart deal in how their own KPERS benefits are calculated. 372 days in a year! Leave it to a political hack to figure that one out!

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

The Senate president and House speaker are at the top of the pay scale, and annualized pay for those posts could be as high as $99,859.74, depending on their enrollment choices.

Aren't legislators supposed to be servants of the people? Isn't the common thinking that people run for office, not to get rich, but to serve? We sure do think stupid real good like in this state: The people who do the day to day work which make Kansas run have their KPERS figured one way.....and the galoots who pose for 3 months a year as "legislators" get to figure their KPERS benefit in a totally different the point where they've invented a new calendar: 372 days in a year and they work each and every one of them!! Woo Hoo!!!

Paul Davis as well as Tom Sloan and for that matter all of the Lawrence political payoff hacks who go to Topeka all could have changed this specious backdoor payment or at least introduced legislation to change it. None have. One hand washes the other here in Kansas. It's easier to blame poor folk who receive SNAP benefits as cheats than it is a Grade D- hack politician who quietly knows he/she is going to get P-A-I-D several years down the road for their "service". What a crock.

Catalano 4 years, 4 months ago

Your same old tired argument reminds me of Wilby. Get over it. yawn

You really think the progressives in the legislature could have fixed this? LOL.

David Reynolds 4 years, 4 months ago

Everyone has their candidate favorites for various reasons as exemplified by these posts. But Alceste makes a very good point that everyone should agree on. For better or worse Politicians should live by the very rules we citizens have to live by. Politicians like Paul say they are for the little man/woman but they want to exempt themselves from living off the programs they force on us. Until Paul works to correct this inequity, his crying about underfunding KU & various other social programs is just hot air. Paul is as phony as all of our elected officials at all levels of government.

What is so great about Paul? How is he any different from anyone else?

Cheryl Nelsen 4 years, 4 months ago

For one, he has bothered to travel the state to listen to people. He shows up on the capital steps to listen to people. He walks the walk, and your comment about him correcting an inequity is ridiculous. If you want to talk inequity study up a bit on Brownback. This coming election I would vote for ANYONE other than Brownback, but I especially look forward to voting for someone who gives me hope--Paul Davis.

David Reynolds 4 years, 4 months ago

I don't know if I would vote for either Brownback or Davis, but retiree I would be concerned about anyone that offers us hope. We tried that in Washington. Thats not working out for any of us. Forgetting Washington. I ask you retiree, being as I am one myself, how has the Brownback administration hurting you? Why, specifically, is their Hope with Davis? I am skeptical of all politicians. So I am very interested ion your view point.

tomatogrower 4 years, 4 months ago

And this couldn't have happened without the Republicans. It was probably a Republican who proposed it. So what's your point?

Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

I'll make you a deal though, Vote "L275" for governor and if I win I'll force legislation to cut my pay to $65,000.

Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

It's nice that you on the left like your prospective candidate for governor. Good luck.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 4 months ago

It's insane that you on the Right like your current Governor.

Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

If you think I'm any friend of the right, you are mistaken. Besides, I was just being nice.

Catalano 4 years, 4 months ago

Will the "moderate" republican voters vote for Brownback?

Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

They will vote against the liberal before they vote against the conservative.

akuna 4 years, 4 months ago

Or they might not vote at all. And that could be enough.

Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

That isn't a bad observation, but you should remember we also have national elections in 2014. Moderate republicans may not show up to vote for governor, but given the dislike of democrats at the national level, I suspect there will be mostly normal turnout on the right. I'm sure Davis would be an acceptable governor, but I'll be voting against democrats because of Feinstein's attempt at gun control and Bloomberg's overturned ban on 32 ounce cokes. Voting is my only way of punishing those attempts to violate my freedom.

Davis may well siphon off a few Republicans and Libertarians but not enough to have any real effect.

George_Braziller 4 years, 4 months ago

I'm betting they will. The moderate Republicans are running in droves away from Brownback and all of his Tea Party ilk. Even my redneck brother-in-law now regrets voting for him. Anyone who runs against Brownback in the Republican primary will win by a landslide because it will be someone other than Slimy Sam.

BigDog 4 years, 4 months ago

So what moderate Republican is planning to run against him?????

I don't see it happening, none have the name nor the infrastructure to run a statewide campaign.

jafs 4 years, 4 months ago

Only if you count 1/3 of eligible voters (or less) voting for BB as a landslide.

Which wouldn't be accurate, of course.

Lynn Grant 4 years, 4 months ago

Pheps, you are so funny. It is Brownback who is digging the hole and throwing the working people of Kansas in. It will take many terms of anyone else to undo what he has done in 3 years. Of course, you bring up Obama as the scapegoat for all of the problems in Kansas. You can't stand to see "poor" Brownback as the one being rightfully criticized. Alceste, why haven't the republican legislators, you know the ones with the overwhelming majority in both houses, done anything about their lopsided KPERS? They have had several years to "fix" it. I don't recall any democrat referring to anyone who receives SNAP benefits as "cheats", I believe that came mainly from republicans in Washington, a number of those being our own Kansans. Stop drinking the KKKoolaid.

kansasredlegs 4 years, 4 months ago

Brownback, Davis simply doesn't matter. Both choices are bad for Kansas. Neither team is worth a vote. Davis says common sense approach, blah blah blah. Davis' website talks of the travesty of the higher education funding slashed by Brownback and how much the rates have increased. But a few simple keystrokes and one finds that the increased costs he laments were actually worse during his team's administrations. So, go on and fool yourself if you think that either team has your best interests in mind when they move their lips and utter their collective BS.

Mr. Davis, I will vote for you only if you have the conviction, integrity and honesty to stop the BS as noted above. I will check your website which I encourage all voters to do and I will not cast a ballot in your favor if you continue to mislead voters. If you want to be Governor, then try a new campaign strategy, brutal honesty. Treat us like adults and stop the BS rhetoric.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 4 months ago

This quote from David Kensinger says it all "We're focused on building a campaign that can share with every Kansan, Governor Brownback's record of accomplishment,"

For example Kensinger, is proud of Governor Brownback's record, of not knowing how to use a, comma.

And after 8 years of Il Marrone, neither will Kansas kids.

bad_dog 4 years, 4 months ago

Commas won't matter to a list with zero contents, so at least they have that much going for them.

akuna 4 years, 4 months ago

It'll be interesting to see how much money the Koch Brothers throw at this race. They, unlike Mitt Romney's campaign, have to know they are fighting a very difficult battle. Most Kansans have seen the ramifications of Brownback's legislative agenda, and the ramifications are not good. The only way Brownback wins is through the blind faith of the ultraconservative Republican base, smear tactics, and an inexhaustible Koch-Brother-funded war chest.

love2fish_ks 4 years, 4 months ago

Oh come on. Democrats should be able to easily take the Governorship from Brownback but Paul Davis isn't the solution. He was and still is part of the coalition to stop the South Lawrence Traffic Way. Come on D's we can pick a much better candidate. Anthony Hensley would be great!!!

Cheryl Nelsen 4 years, 4 months ago

I think you're outdated on your information.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 4 months ago

Before becoming a legislator, Davis, an attorney, worked for the Kansas Bar Association and for the Kansas Department of Insurance when former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, was insurance commissioner. Sebelius is now secretary of Health and Human Services in President Barack Obama's cabinet.

---you want ties to obamacare, read the above. kthy bilious is writing the offensive burdensome obamacare regs, thousands upon thousands of pages. she denied that little girl the lung transplant. had to have a judge override her.

now comes word that the congress and their staffs, along with the whitehouse staff just got a very special exemption from obamacare including massive premium supports that you average schlubs don't get because you n't ring up obama for a special favor. the office of personnel management (taxpayer funds) is paying these.

1southernjayhawk 4 years, 4 months ago

Forty one responses so far for Davis for governor=his total support.

Mike Ford 4 years, 4 months ago

what's the problem with protecting the environment love2_fishks? what 's the problem with respecting other's religious views and ties to the land? I'm not going away in fact I'm going to be as loud a critic as I ever was. someone got away with denying other's historical connection to lands where cultural genocide took place at the hands of americans and Christians. I'm glad you think your denial is that important.

David Reynolds 4 years, 4 months ago

With all of this vitriol regarding Brownback & the rush to Davis sounds a lot like the Bush & Obama vote. Obama hasn't worked out very well with regard to any measure of performance for his office. What makes anyone believe the support for Davis is nothing more than a rebound from a failed relationship. Rebound relationships don't work. Rebounds for KU BB, now that is another matter.

Mike Ford 4 years, 4 months ago

is Kansas becoming as dumb as the south southernjayhawl1? we hope to end that. you can have your Rick Perrys and Bobby Jindals and other geniuses. Some people are tired of dumb.

Alceste 4 years, 4 months ago

Nani700 opines above: "Alceste, why haven't the republican legislators, you know the ones with the overwhelming majority in both houses, done anything about their lopsided KPERS?"

Because they're greedy slicksters is why and that's an integral aspect of "the point": The fact nary a democrat has sought to correct this specious and egregious; so glaringly obvious it's sickly amusing wrong. Introduction of such legislation isn't going to win any friends, either. Big deal. Them guys is sent to Topeka by "the people" to "do the right thing". When it comes to paying themselves, there is no "red" or "blue"....they're all cut from the same cloth, however. They're all best buddies on that one. shrug

Too, the reality Paul Davis had (and continues to have) a personal choice......he very well could have checked the box to count only the days the legislature is in session.....and chose to pay himself says a lot about the fellow: He's the same as Morris or Brownback....looking, first and foremost, to pay himself. Paul Davis, and any other legislator for that matter, has the opportunity to correct their lapse in moral judgment and "do over" how their retirement benefit is calculated by KPERS. Be a nice show in solidarity to the rest of the KPERS membership who are required to actually present and accounted for to earn years of service for their KPERS benefit.

If the legislature were to change the KPERS calculation methodology such that every KPERS participant could choose a calculation method which mirrors the legislators system, that would be just fine.

Alceste 4 years, 4 months ago

Poster Catalano noted: "You really think the progressives in the legislature could have fixed this? (The KPERS payoff to legislators) LOL."

Won't know until it is tried and it sure would be interesting to hear how these "polished" (spit) politicians dance around and rationalize all up and down the corridors of Kansas "democracy" just why this pay off is a "good thing" and allow the people of the state to weigh in on it. Alceste asserts that the vast majority of the citizenry don't know it's going on....;

Richard Heckler 4 years, 4 months ago

Kansas CANNOT afford one more day of the ALEC Right Wing Party.

In recent months, The ALEC Right Wing Party has come under increased scrutiny for its role in drafting bills to: attack workers’ rights and reduce wages roll back environmental regulations privatize education deregulate major industries * passing voter ID laws.

A recent annual ALEC Right Wing Party meeting boasted the largest attendance in five years, with nearly 2,000 guests in attendance. A look at some 800 model bills approved by companies and lawmakers at recent ALEC meetings.


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