Archive for Monday, July 22, 2013

Democrats expect nominee for governor soon

July 22, 2013


TOPEKA — Some prominent Kansas Democrats expect their party’s presumed nominee for governor to emerge by Labor Day for an underdog’s challenge to Republican incumbent Sam Brownback.

The most-often mentioned names of potential Democratic candidates in recent weeks are Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence; businesswoman and former Board of Regents member Jill Docking, of Wichita, and former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty, an Ellsworth County native.

Brownback hasn’t formally kicked off his 2014 re-election campaign, but he’s raising money for it. As the Republican incumbent in a GOP-leaning state, he enjoys a built-in advantage, even with persistent criticism from Democrats and disaffected moderate Republicans.

The conservative governor’s push for aggressive personal income tax cuts is likely to be a key issue, with critics arguing that the reductions favor the wealthy and will starve public schools and vital state programs. Legislators also are expecting a Kansas Supreme Court ruling early next year in a lawsuit seeking to force the state to boost spending on public schools, and some liberal Democrats see Brownback as vulnerable on social issues, including abortion.

But Democrats acknowledge that their top candidate will need to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and build statewide name recognition early. In 2010, the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, was hampered by a relatively late start in February of that year.

“I think there’s an opportunity to get a quicker start to the campaign than what happened four years ago,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. “I’m anticipating, very likely before Labor Day, there will be announcements.”

Brownback and his allies believe that his tax cuts not only will bring widespread relief to taxpayers but also stimulate the economy. His conservative stances on issues such as abortion resonate with the GOP’s base, and Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 344,000 among the state’s nearly 1.8 million registered voters.

The governor began the year with more than $518,000 in campaign funds, and Democrats concede that he’s likely to have plenty of money for a re-election bid. Brownback raised almost $3.1 million for his successful 2010 campaign, almost half of it in 2009.

Also, Republicans at all levels are likely to tap opposition to President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Kansas hasn’t been carried by a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and a wave of anti-Obama sentiment in 2010 helped sweep Brownback into the governor’s office.

“We just don’t sense that he’s vulnerable,” said Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party. “The Democrats have no natural leader whose name is well-known and who has a lot of money.”

Svaty, 33, is a vice president for the Salina-based Land Institute, which promotes sustainable agriculture. He served in the Kansas House for more than six years before his stint as the state’s appointed agriculture secretary from 2009 to 2011. Afterward, Svaty was an adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. He did not return a telephone message seeking comment about his plans.

Davis, a 41-year-old attorney, has served in the House since 2003, and he’d have to give up his seat to run for governor. He’s been a leading critic of Brownback’s administration, and there’s been speculation for months that he’ll run. But he’s not said publicly whether he’s considering the race.

“Kansans deserve the opportunity to choose a new direction for our state in the next election, and I am certain that a competitive opponent against Sam Brownback will emerge in the coming months,” Davis said in a statement last week.

Docking is a 57-year-old investment adviser who served on the Board of Regents from 2007 to 2010. In 1996, she was Brownback’s Democratic opponent for the U.S. Senate, garnering 43 percent of the vote to Brownback’s 54 percent. Her husband, Tom, is a former lieutenant governor and the son and grandson of Kansas governors.

She declined to comment about a run for governor, saying she’s not sure what her future holds. She has a blog that features criticism of Brownback.

“I am committed to helping to turn the political climate in Kansas around,” she said.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Big campaign spender Sam Brownback works against the republican party as well as the democrats. In essence Sam Brownback is no republican. Let's not forget how many republicans were ousted by the rt wing party posing as the republican party last election cycle.

ALEC,Sam Brownback and Koch money have no use for republicans or democrats. The current contingency in the beltway is not republican. Well then what party do these NOT republicans subscribe to? They subscribe to a variety of rt wing philosophies.

Rt Wing Anti Women Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party backed by ALEC Fascist Economic Terrorism.

4 more years of Sam Brownback will likely put OUR public education tax dollars in the bank accounts of private corporations. Beware.

4 more years of Sam Brownback will put more blue and white collar state government workers out of jobs.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Democrats and old school republicans is this how you want your tax dollars recklessly spent?

Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff! NO NEW JOBS occurred as a result of this $47 million tax dollars. This deal was followed up with a Chinese investment group buying AMC Corporation.

You can bet the AMC executives laughed all the way to the bank not once but twice.

LogicMan 4 years, 10 months ago

If Brownback wants the job again, it's his. Others shouldn't waste their, or ours, time.

But Brownback really wants the White House, but we'll all observe if he's smart enough to realize that he's reached his glass ceiling. As has Perry of Texas.

There's a slight chance Brownback would be picked as the VP running mate, but only if a moderate from either coast gets the GOP nod.

If a Senate slot opens he could win that, if going back to Washington is desirable.

kochmoney 4 years, 10 months ago

I'd rather have him spouting his extremism in the senate, where he's capable of concentrating less power and doing less damage. But ultimately, I'd rather he be humiliated in defeat for being an awful governor.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Sam Brownback imports staff members from around the nation. Mostly people he has affiliated himself with through Washington D.C.

One such example.

Arthur Laffer works for Sam Brownback.

Economist Arthur Laffer, patron saint of tax cuts, is back, with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that he hopes will put the kibosh on future plans for government stimulus.

Laffer, who had his heyday back in the Reagan years, is best known as the popularizer of the notion that raising tax rates beyond a certain level can actually reduce tax revenues by, among other things, discouraging entrepreneurship.

The graphic representation of this idea, though not original to Laffer, came to be known as the Laffer Curve.

While he’s always had detractors, Laffer also had a lot of fervent fans back in the day. But his latest excursion into the public debate has drawn harsh criticism not only from liberal economists like Berkeley’s Brad DeLong but also from stimulus-hating, anti-Keynesian economists you might expect to agree with the Laffer line.

The consensus? Laffer seems to have forgotten, or ignored, some pretty basic concepts in economics.

In other words, Laffer is getting laughed off the economic stage.

Read more:

seagull 4 years, 10 months ago

When foreign leaders act as Brownback does--excluding other voices, shrouding his decisions in secrecy--we are happy when the military overthrows the government. Why is it that we can't see this same authoritarian behavior, bought and paid for by the Koch brothers, in action when it is in front of our eyes?

Perhaps the answer for Kansas is for every Democrat to join the Republican party to try to change it from within.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 10 months ago

Any democratic challenger faces a tough, uphill battle. Brownback is weaker than he was when he first ran, but many in the Kansas GOP would never vote for a democrat no matter who the republican candidate is, even if that GOP candidate more resembles the populists of the early 20th century than the GOP of the 20th century.

Having said that, a good campaign from a disciplined and well funded candidate could unseat Brownback, especially if GOP voters in urban/suburban areas are tired of his destructive policies with regard to education and state finances.

Alyosha 4 years, 10 months ago

Voters of any party will have all the data they need to judge Brownback's success as a governor, and whether he should be re-elected.

So far, doesn't look so good. The economic growth Brownback promised hasn't occurred. Not only that, but "Kansas was one of 20 states where inflation-adjusted average weekly earnings of private employees decreased between May 2012 and last May."

Anyone who votes to re-elect Brownback will in effect be saying they do not care that his policies are not doing what he said they would do; will be saying in effect that they do not care that Brownback is harming the state, both in the present and for the future. Then we might ask them, "what do you care about, such that you'd vote to re-elect him?"

hillsandtrees 4 years, 10 months ago

Since January 1961, Kansas has had Democrat Governors for 28 years, Republican Governors for 26.5 years. Maybe there is still hope for Kansas.

Claudean McKellips 4 years, 10 months ago

Any candidate has a chance of beating Brownback. He only has a 30% approval rating.

BigDog 4 years, 10 months ago

CM - "He only has a 30% approval rating."

Show me the poll where you got this statistic

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I googled the issue and found a Survey USA poll from April that showed about 34%, down from February.

If that trend continued, it may very well be at about 30% now.

The term I used was "brownback approval rating poll".

YesWeKansas 4 years, 10 months ago

PPP back in February, Brownback approval- 37%, Obama approval in Kansas- 41%

BigDog 4 years, 10 months ago

But matched in hypothetical head-to-head contests in a gubernatorial race, Brownback still appears to have an edge over some of the state’s best-known Democrats. The poll pitted him against Mayor Carl Brewer of Wichita, former governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, outgoing Unified Government mayor Joe Reardon, Kansas Sen. Tom Holland and Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, who conducted an investigation into open meetings violations last year at the governor’s mansion.

Brownback polled better than any of them, with only Brewer coming within four points of him.The latest poll echoes others last year by SurveyUSA, which showed the governor with a similar rating.

Read more here:

Clearly4Kansas 4 years, 10 months ago

Obama will drag down any democrat running in 2014. My share of my employer provided health ins premium is increasing by 35% thanks to ObamaCare. Obama's EPA has declared war on energy production, our utility bills will double. Gas at the pump has steadily increased from $1.75 in Jan 2009 to more than double that today. Obama is destroying middle class family budgets and devastating families. Anyone considering running as a democrat might want to hold off this election cycle. No need to ruin a career like Raj Goyle did in 2010.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

Democrats expect nominee for governor soon =sacrificial lamb!

indeed, tax cuts, prolife, etc., article is right. Sam does resonate with the active base of the republican party. and, there's a huge registration/participation advantage across the state prorepublican.

so, whomever the demorats nominate=sacrificial amb. and as poster noted above, he/she/it will have Obama and Obamacare hung all over that dem candidacy by all kinds of ads with all kindsa bux. and rightly so.

vote for dems, you vote for that. ... no thanks.

Brock Masters 4 years, 10 months ago

The fact that it is taking so long to announce someone makes me think they don't have a candidate that wants to run.

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