Archive for Monday, August 12, 2013

Kassebaum: Davis will need moderate Republicans in campaign against Brownback

August 12, 2013


— In picking former state Rep. William A. Kassebaum as his campaign treasurer, potential gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Paul Davis, a Democrat, selected someone with a well-known name in Kansas politics who has been at the center of the Republican infighting that Davis must tap into if he has a chance of defeating Gov. Sam Brownback.

Davis, the Kansas House minority leader, announced last week that he has formed a campaign committee to start a possible run against Brownback, a conservative Republican who is running for re-election in 2014. Davis also launched a website for a potential bid.

Much of Davis' brief announcement was devoted to Kassebaum, who is the son of former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, and grandson of former Gov. Alf Landon, both high-profile Republican names in Kansas politics.

"I am excited to appoint former Republican state Rep. William A. Kassebaum as my treasurer," Davis said. "Bill and his family have a long record of moderate, bipartisan leadership in Kansas. This is exactly what Kansans want in Topeka," he said.

William Kassebaum, a rancher and lawyer in Burdick, served one term in the Kansas House.

In a phone interview Monday, Kassebaum said in school funding and tax policy, Brownback has not been good for Kansas. "I think we need a change of course from what we are on," he said.

Kassebaum had short tenure in House

Kassebaum's brief tenure in the Legislature shows the chasm between so-called moderate and so-called conservative Republicans.

In 2002, Kassebaum defeated House Republican Leader Shari Weber in the Republican Party primary and later won the general election. Weber, of Herington, was seen as vulnerable because of her reluctance to support tax increases to shore up the state budget during the 2002 legislative session. Weber eventually voted to raise $252 million in new revenue.

In 2004, Kassebaum helped lead a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats to pass a bill in the House raising sales and income taxes to fund a $155 million package for public schools. Later that year, Weber came back and defeated Kassebaum.

During that campaign, Weber benefitted from the anti-tax organization called The Club for Growth, which mailed thousands of postcards and purchased radio ads denouncing Kassebaum.

The local chapter of Club for Growth was guided by David Kensinger, a longtime Brownback staff member who is now president of Brownback's political action committee. The national head of the Washington D.C.-based Club for Growth at the time was Stephen Moore, who said he wanted to make sure that within five years there were no pro-tax Republicans in Kansas.

Davis needs moderate Republicans

If Davis runs against Brownback, Davis must woo moderate Republicans. Of the state's 1.73 million registered voters, approximately 45 percent are registered Republicans, 30 percent are unaffiliated and 25 percent are Democrats.

"He will need Republican support to win," Kassebaum said of Davis.

Kassebaum said he agrees with Davis that Brownback's tax cuts have destabilized the budget, which will hurt school funding and other government services.

And, Kassebaum said, the cuts are unfair. Brownback pushed for and signed into law a provision that exempts from income taxes non-wage business income reported by LLCs, Subchapter-S corporations, and sole proprietorships. Brownback has said the provision will boost businesses in Kansas.

But Kassebaum said it will allow businesses to avoid taxes while continuing to use government services. He said he could form an LLC and not pay any income tax on his ranching operation. "I'm still using the services. I want good schools and roads and they still need to be paid for," he said.

Kassebaum said his grandfather, Alf Landon, helped establish a progressive state income tax in Kansas during the Great Depression. "They put into practice a lot of sound economic policies that the current administration wants to get rid of. I think Paul is concerned about that," he said.

Kassebaum said he enjoyed working with Davis in the House, that they have kept in touch through the years and was glad to help Davis' potential bid for governor.


Grump 4 years, 10 months ago

Davis is an intelligent, sane, moderate politician who I'd vote for without hesitation. He can't win, however, because he's from Lawrence. The rest of the state is not going to elect a governor from Lawrence; the rest of the state perceives everyone in Lawrence as having a "honk for hemp" (or "honk for organic hemp") bumper sticker on their imported hybrid car. Boog Highberger might as well run.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Sam Brownback is not a republican. He is ALEC Right Wing Party NOT a republican.

Paul Davis is the absolute best bang for the vote!!!

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure if any Democrat can run without shooting themselves in the foot. However, Davis should have had enough practice arguing the issues to know how to campaign against Brownback.

Somebody needs to save us from these people in Topeka.

thinkagain 4 years, 10 months ago

Paul Davis, when elected, might save us all from Brownback, ALEC and the "Honk for Hemp" bumper stickers.

Claudean McKellips 4 years, 10 months ago

With Brownback's 30% or less approval rating, Governor Paul Davis can easily win this election!

laughingatallofu 4 years, 10 months ago

Don't think so. Kansans are the most ignorant voters you can find (save for Texas and North Carolina). Brownback will win in a landslide.

Melissa Carlson 4 years, 10 months ago

It will take hard work and good communication skills between groups that are a bit rusty, but it is statistically possible. I am convinced that Paul Davis will win.

Paul listens to Kansans. He knows our state Constitution inside and out, and he'll play fair. Brownback rewrites rules to win points for a few rich guys. Kansans don't care for cheaters.

We're going to ban Brownback for life.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Actually, according to the numbers, unaffiliated voters + D outnumber R.

So, it would be theoretically possible for Davis to win without any registered R voting for him, if the other groups did.

Unlikely, but possible.

I like the idea of a coalition between moderate R and other groups though - seems like a good idea to me.

Ray Petty 4 years, 10 months ago

Former State Senator Wint Winter dubbed it: the Radical Moderate Party. That's what we need -- a coalition of centrist get-things-done not get-things-undone people. Forget the tails of the distribution -- the Brownbackistanians as well as the Honk for Hempers. It is clearly time to VOTE OUT THE CRACKPOTS! So let's be reasonable here and elect a Governor who will unite instead of dividing, who will be a progressive not a regressive . . . before it is too late!

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

"So let's be reasonable here and elect a Governor who will unite instead of dividing, who will be a progressive not a regressive . . . before it is too late!"

You should be writing speeches for the mayor of Lawrence.

R.J. Dickens 4 years, 10 months ago

History is not on the side of Sam Brownback. In the past 80 years, less than five Republicans have been re-elected governor... and Brownback has not shown himself to be in the same class as Alf Landon, John Anderson and Bill Graves.

avoice 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't know what moderate Republicans want to see in a candidate, but as for wooing independents, Paul Davis needs to dump the Democratic Party folks who insist on employing sophomoric methods designed to stir up their party's base. Sure, lots of dyed-in-the-wool Democrats like to make jokes about Republicans, but campaigning is serious. Some of us seriously want to know about the candidates and not waste so much time on junior-high level put-down wars. In the last election, the Democrats who ran Tom Holland's campaign managed to take a strong, worthy and centrist candidate and sideline him by focusing their campaign efforts on maligning Sam Brownback in juvenile ways. It did Tom Holland no favors with independents and I'm sure it hurt his chances with moderate Republicans. Grow up, Democrats, and show us that you can rise above what the Republicans in this state are dishing out.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 10 months ago

For Davis to win, he will need to keep close in campaign spending, money. He cannot hope to outspend the ALEC/Koch-fueled Brownback campaign, but he will need to keep it close.

Good intentions and wishes alone will not get Davis elected. Money will be needed.

Therefore, contribute early and often to the Davis campaign. The big money forces are already lining up against him. Contributions will be critical. Big money in politics sucks, but it is the world we live in. Therefore, make a real difference and contribute money to the Davis campaign.

optimist 4 years, 10 months ago

The Big Education lobby is out in force. Failure to feed the education beast has made enemies for Brownback. Higher education is a business, let's try to remember that.

BigDog 4 years, 10 months ago

mrcontroversy What you say is true but Paul Davis is not exactly in the same class (politician or name wise) as Robert Docking, Joan Finney, or Kathleen Sebelius. His challenge is going to be name recognition outside of Lawrence area, political infrastracture and a platform/positions that give people reason to support him.

His positions on spending and gun ownership ... are going to be tough to swallow for many of the more moderate/conservative Democrats too. Even normally liberal Sen. David Haley supported concealed carry laws because Democrats in Wyandotte County strongly supported that legislation.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

If Davis is the nominee, the right is going to attack him constantly on gun control, and I can't imagine anyone who is for more gun control winning the governor's race in Kansas.

He also has the abortion problem and the gay marriage problem.

seebarginn 4 years, 10 months ago

That's a very good point by Kassebaum. Now that he's on the Davis team, all Paul needs to do is find the other moderate Republican here in Kansas. That could be a challenge.

Catalano 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't think that will be much of a problem. Paul has a lot of bipartisan support throughout the state. People in Lawrence just don't realize it.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 10 months ago

I will find it difficult to support a gun hater or anyone who believes Travon Martin was an altar boy.

I am hoping Davis does not get his talking points from Chris Matthews.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

You prefer Brownback?

In politics, we often don't have the luxury of a perfect candidate, and have to choose between two flawed ones.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 10 months ago

You are correct. I can still hope it will not be an excruciating decision.

ChuckFInster 4 years, 10 months ago

If and when Davis decides to run defeat is certain. This could be a teachable moment however, the few liberals and left wingers of the state will find out how far removed their ideals, values and rhetoric are from that of mainstream Kansans ( you can thank Obama for that). That is the point at which fantasy collides with reality.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

To me that doesn't say much for mainstream Kansans, they are the people who are feeling brownbackwards policies the.most. Lets hope they wake up or things could get alot worse for them and their future generations because that's how long it will take them to crawl of the hole the guv has dug.

Armstrong 4 years, 10 months ago

You're thought are echoed throughout Lawrence, but that's where it stops

smileydog 4 years, 10 months ago

If Davis can have access to what "the president has put into place - an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. That's going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it's never been done before." -Congresswoman Maxine Waters, CA Democrat. If he can have that kind of access on Kansans like Obama has on the United States, then he will win, just like Obama.

BigDog 4 years, 10 months ago

smileydog .... One has to wonder now how this database was developed by the President's people. Is it from snooping and monitoring their email .... or other data mining of personal information? Did the NSA develop it for him?

smileydog 4 years, 10 months ago

Exactly. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, etc. - all big supporters of Obama.

grandnanny 4 years, 10 months ago

I can't see into the future, but I do know one thing. While the Republicans in the legislature were attending their ALEC meeting, Paul Davis was touring the state talking to people. History has not served Republican governors well. Unfortunately, the Koch brothers are now involved with their limitless amounts of money so we shall see if Kansans are smart enough to stop shooting themselves.

Bob Forer 4 years, 10 months ago

I am puzzled why some folks reject Davis because they disagree with him on one or two issues such as gun control and/or abortion.

Abortion is here to stay per Roe vs. Wade, but in Kansas , with restrictions as stringent as constitutionally permissible. Davis's position on the matter doesn't mean a hill of beans.

Also, his gun control views are not exactly radical, and his position appears to be in the minority in Kansas. So again, his beliefs add up to nothing, unless, of course, you plan on purchasing new guns in the future, and here, if Brownback hangs around for another term and completely destroys the economy, you might not be able to afford any new guns.

It's the economy, stupid. We can change that. Don't be foolish and get sucked in on tangential issues.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 10 months ago

You shouldn't be calling us stupid if we are just giving our opinion about how we would like Davis to campaign against Brownback.

Just because he is a Democrat or that he had a particular position in the past or what Washington Democrats are pushing this week does not mean that Davis has to follow the party line. I would prefer that he work to separate himself from Washington politics and present himself as his own man.

If you want to lead you have to be your own man or else you may not be qualified for the job. We can train a monkey to follow orders.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

All we need to remember is that Paul Davis is no flaming liberal not by a long shot. He is a moderate no matter what. Not only that Paul Davis would be the Fiscal Conservative.

Supply Side Economics spenders have been anything but fiscally responsible over the past 33 years. With Arthur Laffer, a beltway politician and the father of supply side economics, by his side in Topeka don't expect anything close to Fiscal responsibility.

The extreme radical politics is in the Brownback camp. Brownback has spent his entire political career pretending to be a republican when he is on the campaign trail. When he is elected his right wing votes and agenda step up and run the man. Plenty of documented history to back this up which indicate Sam Brownback cannot be trusted.

Americans For Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group and PAC was founded by brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch. The Koch brothers have been close political allies of Brownback's for nearly 20 years, and had the governor's approval to promote conservative challengers to Republican moderates already in office during the 2012 election cycle.

Sam Brownback is committed to Americans For Prosperity, ALEC, David and Charles Koch not to Kansas or the USA I contend.

kansanjayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

The fact is if we can get rid of the state income tax we will benefit all of the people of Kansas. Look at the growth percentages in the states with no income tax. Brownback is doing all he can to get business and economic growth in Kansas. Sebelius made us the high tax capital on the plains and left the state with our general fund broke! Brownback and the fiscally conservative leadership that has been put in place has brought Kansas around and moved our state in a forward direction financially. Kansas would be very foolish to turn back to liberalism by turning to Davis and Kassebaum they have no anwers just tax and tax, spend and spend.
That aside from the general anti-family liberalism of supporting unlimited abortion on demand and homosexual (gay) marriage how out of step with most Kansans!

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago


Even Laffer, the saint of the low taxes movement, admits that lower tax rates don't stimulate growth.

KS has been doing fine for quite a while with a combination of moderate R and D leadership.

"Tax and spend" is better than "borrow and spend" or slashing education, social service funding, etc.

Nobody supports "unlimited abortion".

And, gay marriage, being a constitutional issue, shouldn't be decided based on popular opinion.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 10 months ago

Wow indeed.

This is why the human race has a short life expectancy and bugs will move to their rightful place atop the evolutionary ladder.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.