Archive for Saturday, August 17, 2013

Democrats plan strategies to take on Brownback, Kobach and others

August 17, 2013, 7:34 p.m. Updated August 17, 2013, 8:31 p.m.


— Approximately 200 people met Saturday at the Kanas Democratic Party's annual DemoFest to prepare for the group's 2014 campaign to try to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback and other Republican elected officials.

"People are absolutely dead-set on getting rid of Brownback," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon. She said that dissatisfaction with Republican policies has lit a fire under Democrats to get organized between now and the 2014 elections. Twice as many people showed up to DemoFest as was initially expected, she said.

Clayton Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, disagreed with Wagnon's assessment.

Under Republican leadership, Barker said, Kansas has added jobs, cut taxes and produced a budget surplus.

"The Kansas Republican Party is working hard every day to register and turn out voters who share our values of individual opportunity, limited effective government and personal responsibility," Barker said.

Democrats will face a steep deficit among registered voters. Of the state's 1.73 million registered voters, approximately 45 percent are registered Republicans, 30 percent are unaffiliated and 25 percent are Democrats.

But Democrats said they can win if they can focus the electorate on Brownback's fiscal polices and what event-goers called voter suppression efforts by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican.

In addition, Democrats say they are going to increase their efforts at getting more Hispanics involved in the election.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence has announced that he is considering a run against Brownback.

Speaking at the event, Davis said Brownback's agenda runs counter to Kansas values of strong schools, a strong middle class and cooperation.

Davis said of the 2014 election, "It's not about putting a Democrat in the governors office. It's about putting a common sense Kansan in the governor's office."

Tax cuts and voting rights

With large Republican majorities in the Legislature, Brownback has won significant changes in Kansas tax law. These changes include cuts in income tax rates; exempting from income taxes non-wage business income reported by LLCs, Subchapter-S corporations, and sole proprietorships; eliminating or reducing deductions aimed at helping low- and middle-income Kansans; and increasing the state sales tax.

Brownback has said the tax changes will improve the overall Kansas economy.

Democrats have argued that the changes mostly benefit wealthy Kansans and will result in property tax increases and slashes in public services such as education and health care.

Jill Docking, a former chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said Brownback's cuts to higher education are being driven by the loss of revenue from the tax cuts. "There is no revenue," Docking said.

Recent polling has shown that Brownback has low job approval ratings. In addition, Kobach has been under fire for a new law that he helped get approved that requires proof of citizenship for new voter registrations. The law has put nearly 15,000 would-be voters in limbo because the proof of citizenship process hasn't been completed.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union notified Kobach that it will file a lawsuit in 90 days if the state doesn’t fix the situation. Kobach has said he will continue to enforce the law.

Businessman Randy Ralston has announced that he will challenge Kobach in the next election.

Focusing on the Hispanic vote

Juan Sepulveda, senior advisor for Hispanic affairs for the Democratic National Committee, said if Democrats continue to contrast their policies with those of Republicans, the party will continue to win a large majority of Hispanic votes.

"The Hispanic vote is a persuadable vote," Sepulveda said. "It's not part of the base. We're up for grabs. We have to make the case. Here is what we stand for, here is what they stand for," said Sepulveda, who grew up in Topeka.

Sepulveda, with the DNC, said the concerns of the Hispanic community match those of the rest of the country and include jobs, the economy and education.

But, he said, immigration reform is also an important issue with Hispanics because it affects their community.

He said religious and business groups and law enforcement have joined together to back "common sense immigration reform." He said Kobach stands in contrast to this effort, pushing for tougher immigration laws and proof of citizenship voter laws.

And, Sepulveda said, Hispanics will benefit by the implementation of Obamacare, while Republicans want to repeal the measure and Brownback has refused to expand Medicaid under the law.

The Kansas Democratic Party also has hired Carlos Lugo as its Hispanic Outreach and Field Director.

Born in Mexico and raised in Washington state, Lugo most recently served as Field Director for U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., where he oversaw the management of a field organization that resulted in an 18-point electoral victory.

"There is so much we can do here in the state of Kansas," Lugo said.


leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Clayton barker is correct about turning out voters in the truest sense of the word. The repubs have done nothing but disenfranchise voters. Don't think they'd be doing that if the were secure in their ideas but their ideas are so out of the mainstream it hopefully will cost them in this election. We've had democratic guv's in the recent past now lets work on the crazy legislature

weeslicket 4 years, 10 months ago

@scott: lots of one sentence paragraphs in this. lots of puzzle peices to place together. thank you for time and patience and knowledge.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 10 months ago

There are two problems that need to be addressed. First, the democrats need to finally get organized with national support. Second, the independents in Kansas need to visit the Wizard of Oz and get a brain like the scarecrow did...the GOP in this state is evil, corrupt, incompetent, racist, uncaring, and whatever other negative adjective one can imagine. The last good the republicans did in this state ended with Eisenhower. The rural bumpkins have drank the koolade. Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, Kansas City (including Johnson County) need to get behind whoever the democrats put forward. A brownback 2nd term would be like a swarm of locusts after a river of blood or some other biblical plague.

verity 4 years, 10 months ago

Describing rural people as bumpkins is not going to further your cause, neither is saying independents need to get a brain.

Just because people live in the rural areas and/or farm does not mean they are uneducated or don't know what's going on. Your kind of attitude is what turns people off and one of the reasons that "rural bumpkins" feel themselves superior to "city slickers." Maybe if they felt the Democratic Party had some empathy for them, more would vote for Democrats.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 10 months ago

Actually, I'm a rural bumpkin. I just think my family members and friends who hate welfare but cash farm subsidy checks, who hate obamacare but are on medicare, etc have screws loose. My chief response to you is "lighten up Francis." My calling someone a bumpkin is not what's going to keep them from voting for's their own idiocy. Gramps was a republican so I'll be one too. Got news for ya...Eisenhower and Lincoln are long gone. Reagan is gone too. Now we have newt Gingrich, Rick perry and Sam brownback. Yuck all the way round.

redneck 4 years, 10 months ago

"The Hispanic vote is a persuadable vote,". The Democrats are going talk the Hispanics into voting their way! Good ole American ingenuity! While you are at it, why don't you see if you can lower the voting age to like may 10 years old. You could persuade them into voting your way even easier. Just give them an ipad or something cool. The Republicans hit the nail on the head, by making people prove they have the right to vote. Those nearly 15,000 would-be voters who are in limbo, may want to present their paperwork showing they are citizens. I'll be more than happy to present my birth certificate, if it is ever required.

Obamacare may be a good thing, but we will have to wait until October to see what those premiums will be. I'll bet they will not be as affordable as the Democrats claim they will be.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 4 years, 10 months ago

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jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

What do you think that political campaigning consists of?

As far as I can tell, it consists of persuading people to vote for you.

Reporting on the issue of the voters in suspense has indicated that many of those voters did in fact present proof of citizenship when registering.

I'm glad to hear you're keeping an open mind about the ACA. I'd say, though, that we need to wait quite a bit more than until October to evaluate it, since that's just the beginning of the implementation. I'd give it several years at least before deciding how well it's working.

Projections about premiums have been that they'll dramatically increase (from R generally) and that they'll dramatically decrease (from D generally). My bet is that the reality will be somewhere in the middle.

oldexbeat 4 years, 10 months ago

what next ? having to show an ID to have the right to free speech ? Huh ? Rights are rights.

Niemoller 4 years, 9 months ago

The problem with your logic, my Redneck friend, is that the state has control over allocating drivers licenses, birth certificates, passports, ect. So, short of a school ID, which is ultimately controlled by schools/BOE/THE STATE, they can charge what they want for replacements and copies. Furthermore, they can just say "Oops" the system is down; you have to come back tomorrow like they have to my boyfriend three times. This kind of incompetency takes money out of his pocket and can cause him to miss a voting opportunity. (Luckly, he is working toward his CDL and not just an ID or DL.) Why all of a sudden do we have to wait two weeks for our ID anyway? I have only been driving for 16-17 years and I can remember going in and coming out with the DL in hand. But I guess that was too costly and time consuming for the state. Besides, with the way they are doing it now, they could go door to door and make sure people have their IDs and if snap a picture and give a receipt right there if they don’t, then mail it to them in two weeks. But they are purposefully making it harder and harder to get an ID, ultimately eliminating votes.

trinity 4 years, 10 months ago

There are many Rs, at least down here in the sticks, who are very disgruntled with blowback. And have no intention of voting for him again. He's p'd off a number of moderates, too.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 10 months ago

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smileydog 4 years, 10 months ago

If the Democrats 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 they can have that kind of access on Kansans like Obama has on the United States, then they will win, always, just like Obama.

jpebcac 4 years, 10 months ago

Obama didn't create the NSA database.. it went into effect in 2006, under Bush. Obama also isn't running for Governor.

smileydog 4 years, 10 months ago

But Obama expanded its use far more than Bush ever did.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

The Kochs have money. The people have votes, should they choose to exercise their right. 30% Sam is hoping they will stay home in droves again. Call his bluff, SHEEPLE! Register, organize and actually go to the polls.

Patricia Davis 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Mr. Getto. Adelman's millions could not elect Romney. We need to rise up all of us—whatever political party we are in and—together prove we are better than Brownback's lab monkeys for the Koch brothers' dimwitted Liberterian utopia. But unless we organize, donate and most importantly, vote, we deserve to be abused.

Armstrong 4 years, 10 months ago

Approximately 200 people met Saturday at the Kanas Democratic Party's annual DemoFest

Twice as many people showed up to DemoFest as was initially expected,

Those kind of numbers don't indicate a big upset in the making.

jpebcac 4 years, 10 months ago

Brownback has, over the last few years, instituted a set of policies that is absolutely detrimental to the long term economic growth of the state of Kansas. It ends up a matter of delayed investment.. save a penny now to spend ten dollars later.

Continuous cuts to mental health spending is a giant step backwards, in that you save small money -now-, but in the long term, you will have more mentally challenged residents who now have no skills, and will find themselves on long-term medicaid without taxes being paid in, meanwhile, spend some money now, and many of these individuals would provide for themselves on some level.. and kick some of that paycheck back to the state.

On other angles, Brownback's social policy has been a significant detriment; large scale employers have noted that top-notch candidates out of colleges are uninterested in coming to Kansas in part because of our egregious social policies. This is a significant factor in the growth of technology within our state; if you don't give the best and the brightest to stay or to move here, they won't.. and businesses in those sectors will leave. When Boeing left, one of their complaints was the inability to attract top flight talent to Kansas.

Recently, at the approval of Brownback and others, Kansas became one of the first states to allow AT&T and others to "opt out" of providing home phone (that's analog line phones) to communities where AT&T won't make a profit.. (despite the fact every phone bill pays a special tax to subsidize just that activity, and that tax isn't going away).. putting those in rural areas at a significant longterm disadvantage from joining the connected world, and putting many schools in Kansas at a serious disadvantage for their students.

Kansas failure to approach things in a reasoned policy that evaluates short term savings, long term expenses and ability to attract talent is slowly killing us. Either we decide to change, or in about 15 years, we're going to find out exactly how bad this is when major name talent won't come here, and our cost of service skyrockets because early investment was neglected.

Kate Rogge 4 years, 10 months ago

Amen to that. We have got to learn how to talk with each other again and to work together to solve our problems. Kansas is our home. There has to be a middle road on which we can agree, one that helps Kansas and Kansans to healthier, happier, and more prosperous lives. Governor Brownback has been in office just three years. Do we really want another five years of this bitterness and discord? Isn't there a way for people of good intention to find a middle way - one that is supported by Kansans regardless of party - to lead us out of this?

Steve Jacob 4 years, 10 months ago

I think all energy (and money) should go into defeating Kobach, the only beatable Republican. And with that you would have a Democrat to win statewide office, which gives the party a chance to take the governorship, someday.

William Ballard 4 years, 10 months ago

The article has an error. I was at DemoFest Saturday, but Paul Davis was not. I do not know why he was not there. You would have to check with his office. As for Armstrong's remark that 200 people does not sound like an upset in the making; the people there were for the most part party officials. They were county chairs and precinct people, and they organize and motivate others in their area into action. The Republicans think that with their numbers and their money they can just sweep over everyone. They are in for a surprise. The average Kansan sees what they are doing, and will throw them out of office.

justoneperson 4 years, 10 months ago

"Democrats will face a steep deficit among registered voters. Of the state's 1.73 million registered voters, approximately 45 percent are registered Republicans, 30 percent are unaffiliated and 25 percent are Democrats."

I'd be interested to know how many Republicans changed their party ID in the last few years. To me the 45% figure is right in some ways and wrong in others. How many of those 45% are right-wing Republicans, and how many are moderates?

Also, moderate Republicans, please pay attention and vote in the primary elections! Stop allowing the right-wing candidates to win those legislative, board, etc. seats. Many of those seats are essentially elected in the primary race.

gjharris90 4 years, 10 months ago

I think you all are forgetting one thing. There has been some jobs brought into Kansas and Governor Brownback has made all of us tighten our belts, by putting into place a Budget. Yes, we would like for something to happen by now, but I believe he and his cabinet are doing the best they can. I have been raised and still am listed as a PROUD Republican.

Everyone is upset because Governor Brownback put Kansas on a Budget and Why not, do you not live on a Budget. Oh, I see you spend more than you take in, so you want to blame us, DO NOT BLAME ME!!!

Farmers need to be paid for what they are worth, whether it's cash crops, or through the insurance. Remember a Farmer feeds 155 people + YOU!!!

Governor Brownback has my vote. I vote only Republican we all need to come to the Kitchen table and discuss the good and bad and come up with a solution.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

He "put" us on a budget by slashing everything under the sun. He put us on a budget by not fully funding schools. He put us on a budget by cutting higher education thus cost students to pay more. He put us on a budget so his rich friends could have a tax cut. Him and his budget have cost Kansas enough. Why don't you supporters of this vile man see him for what he is? His budget was built on the back average people and those less fortunate. Please explain how him putting kansas on a budget has helped anyone. It uninformed or selfish people that put this poor excuse of a person in power, he has abused it, why o people still support this"man"

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

And further more if you feel that brownback lives within his means can you also explain why he still takes federal farm subsides. I do live within my means and find it offensive that you would imply otherwise, but as a property owner and a citizen of kansas it has become harder to make ends meet because this man has implemented a budget. How about next time you don't generalize everyone and maybe become a bit more informed before you exercise your opinion

Joe Blackford II 4 years, 10 months ago

Harris, I'm not clear about what your "90" is about? Age? Year of birth? Year of graduation (8th, HS, college)?

Your statements "I have been raised and still am listed as a PROUD Republican." & "I vote only Republican . . ." could easily come from members of either branch of my own family. To my knowledge, my father, maternal & paternal grandfathers never voted for a Democrat.

Likely this tradition on the maternal side went back to their arrival in KS in 1885 with the FIRST STEAM-POWERED THRESHER WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

However, there are some KS elections where this routine MIGHT have been broken, as Democrats won the following presidential elections in KS:

1912 & 1916 Woodrow Wilson 1932 & 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson

LIke you, I consider myself raised a Republican, but have never seen the need to register with either party (I considered it when Vern Miller ran for Gov). But I have to concede that I wasn't indoctrinated, although my father would end many a political discussion with "Roosevelt invited the Japs to bomb Pearl Harbor . . . ."

Instead, I believe I was taught to think for myself, and evaluate politicians' deeds rather than rely on rhetoric. You have evidently determined that voting "R" will result in the only correct election outcome. IF it were not for the above 5 Kansas presidential election results, I might place some faith in your rationale being based upon your family's hand-me-down voting method = correct election result.

Please advise as to whether you believe your family has crossed the line here in KS upon occasion. Although I have no proof, I'd like to think that my Republican ancestors did.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

First of all we know Sam Brownback will spend a lot of money to get re-elected. This man has been on a tax dollar payroll since 1986. Since his first beltway office adventure Koch money has been in his bank account. This obviously is not a new relationship not by a long shot.

One question is why do well known politicians such as Sam Brownback always need to to spend the most money to win re-election? Name recognition is not the issue. I say after years of observation it is to spend a ton of money on distracting voters from the real issues which is basically lying and lying about the opponent.

The issues are still the same when Sam Brownback took office so nothing has changed except real bad management about tax dollar spending, a ton of state employees were asked to leave, education is not important and well where the hell are all of the jobs Brownback was going to deliver. On the jobs the opposite took place as I mentioned Brownback put lots and lots of people out of work.

Moving jobs from KC to Overland Park did not create any new jobs. People simply had to take a different route to work. This shenanigan did cost plenty of tax dollars. The AMC stunt alone cost taxpayers $47 million tax dollars.... nearly enough to fund USD 497 school district.

Of courses ALEC and Brownback are waging war on wages and women. We can include the State Chamber of Commerce PAC, The Kansas Club for Growth PAC and of course the ill named Americans for Prosperity PAC. Who knows how many bogus out of state PAC's will be funneling money into the Brownack campaign perhaps laundering the money through the Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

What exactly has Kris Kobach done to get re-elected? He spends a lot of time not in Topeka or even in Kansas.

Why does Brownback hire so many beltway associates to fill his administration? Essentially Brownback is truly NOT from Kansas anymore.

Beware another 4 years of Sam Brownback and his crew will put an end to public education pure and simple. Taxpayers will take a monster hit believe it.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

One question is why do well known politicians such as Sam Brownback always need to to spend the most money to win re-election? Name recognition is not the issue. I say after years of observation it is to spend a ton of money on distracting voters from the real issues which is basically lying and lying about the opponent.

---oh Merrill, so by this logic, you must also oppose Obama. he spent ooooodles of $s to get elected/reelected, lied voraciously about his opponent, etc. etc.

glad you're antiobama now.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

Under Republican leadership, Barker said, Kansas has added jobs, cut taxes and produced a budget surplus.

---all true. our unemployment rate is far less than the Obama national rate. if not for 'red states,' obama would have an economic disaster going now.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Budget surplus, again if that is accurate its how he went about accomplishing it that. I really don't believe any number this man puts forward, this coming from the man who took credit for it then it came out that it was a two billion dollar "oversight". Even if there were a surplus it has been at our expense by slashing just about everything. I'd like to see some numbers from an independent source because it doesn't make sense do make those cuts if we have a surplus, or is brownback just that evil to cut education, social services, keep the sales tax rate as is. And are you blaming Obama for economic situation? Coming from the debacle he inherited the economic climate is far and away better than it was in 2008 under bush.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Actually, it's been shown that R states take more from the federal government than they give, and that D states operate in the reverse.

smileydog 4 years, 10 months ago

Just a little food for thought regarding Brownback's policies creating it and weep

sciencegeek 4 years, 10 months ago

ajr--Kobach is NOT the only Republican who can be defeated. There are plenty of legislators who could be sent home if people just showed up to vote. Sam couldn't get away with all this garbage without the wingnuts in the Legislature.

SOOOO--if all the people who are complaining about Brownback would vote against him and his minions, we could stop the nonsense. Too many peoploe sitting on their duffs is how we got this crowd in the first place.

ChuckFInster 4 years, 10 months ago

D's lack the numbers to elect only but a handful on the state level.

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