A Todd Tiahrt Senate campaign ad aimed at hitting opponent Jerry Moran on his tax record is drawing attention for another reason.
The beginning of the ad available on Tiahrt's campaign website includes images of New York tax forms.
"You can easily make out word 'Yonkers' and 'York' on two different forms on the Tiahrt attack ad against Moran. Ooops," tweeted Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director.
Leading up to the Aug. 3 primary, Tiahrt and Moran have each tried to paint themselves as the most conservative candidate, and Moran has often said he is more in tune with Kansas voters.
Tiahrt campaign spokeswoman Michelle Schroeder said Moran was trying to change the subject and attempted “the oldest trick in the political book when you have no defense for your record.”
“The tax form could have been from any state in the nation because the numerous tax increases Congressman Moran has supported would affect every American,” Schroeder said.
Joe Aistrup, a Kansas State University professor of political science, said he didn't see the image of the New York tax forms used in the ad as a Tiahrt gaffe.
"The substance of the ad will be the thing people talk about. It clearly follows, if you will, the track of this campaign to the part of both these representatives to move themselves to be as far to the right as possible," Aistrup said. "And I think this ad is clearly pointed towards the tea party activists within the Republican party, who I think Tiahrt feels like he has the potential to gain their support."
Aistrup said the key will be how widespread the ad is played in the state, and he said part of it seemed to be telling that most of the votes referenced in the ad were Moran's votes in the 1990s as a state senator.
"It's clear they had to go scouring the record pretty far back to find these things," he said.
Tiahrt and Moran, two Republican congressmen from Kansas, are competing for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sam Brownback, a Republican running for governor.
In a Survey USA poll released Monday, Moran had a 23-point lead.
The Republican field of contenders in the 3rd district U.S. House race became a little bit clearer Monday morning.
State Sen. Jeff Colyer, R-Overland Park, sent out an announcement that he won't run, and he strongly endorsed former state Sen. Nick Jordan, a Shawnee Republican who lost a bid for the seat in 2008 to Rep. Dennis Moore, the Lenexa Democrat who will retire after this term.
“I am grateful for the support and encouragement of so many friends regarding this race. I love public service and enjoy campaigning, but now is not the right time for me to be a congressional candidate,” said Colyer, a surgeon serving his first term in the Kansas Senate. “However, the issues facing America are too important for any of us to sit on the sidelines.
"That’s why I’m proud to endorse Nick Jordan. Nick is experienced, honest and effective. He has the right background and values to succeed. Nick can unite this district and win for the right reasons. He will make an outstanding congressman.”
Observers had mentioned Colyer as a potential contender for the nomination in recent weeks. Several Republicans in the district that includes eastern Douglas, Wyandotte and Johnson counties expressed interest in the race after Moore said in November he would not run again. Moore had defeated Republicans for six consecutive terms.
Even though Colyer's now out of the running, the GOP field still has plenty of contenders. Jordan jumped in the race and joined former state Rep. Patricia Lightner, of Olathe, and candidates Daniel Gilyeat, John Rysavy and Tom Scherer. State Rep. Kevin Yoder, House appropriations chairman of Overland Park, and Rep. Pat Colloton, a Leawood attorney, are also exploring bids.
Jordan has said he decided to run after seeing favorable polling numbers in the district. Now, Colyer, a potential rival for the bid has endorsed him and will become Jordan's co-campaign chairman in Johnson County.
"Because Jeff is such a principled conservative leader, respected for both his intellect and character, he will be a great asset as we unite the common-sense majority of this district around our campaign,” Jodan said.
On the Democratic side, Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon is considering running, and Carol Marinovich, also a former Kansas City, Kan., mayor, has been mentioned as a candidate.
The national media on Monday used Rep. Dennis Moore's decision to retire as an opportunity to examine a potential storyline about Democratic House members exiting to avoid tough challenges in 2010.
Michael Barone says Moore would have faced an "uphill race" in the 3rd congressional district of Kansas in 2010, and he runs through some interesting scenarios for eastern Douglas, Wyandotte and Johnson counties.
But Larry Gates, the Kansas Democratic Party chairman, said that Moore was not in trouble politically and that the six-term congressman made the decision not to run after consulting with family and opted not to go through another rigorous campaign.
Larry Sabato, director for the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, criticized the national media on his Twitter account for implying Moore's retirement could lead to a national trend.
Former Kansas Sen. Nick Jordan, R-Shawnee, the last candidate to lose to Moore acknowledged the political climate was tough for the GOP in 2008, especially with the enthusiasm surrounding Obama's candidacy.
"That was kind of a wind we were running against. That was very difficult," Jordan said.
On Monday, Bob Beatty, a Washburn University associate political science professor, said when looking at the Republicans who were in the race before Moore announced his retirement — former Kansas Rep. Patricia Lightner, along with Daniel Gilyeat, John Rysavy and Tom Scherer — he didn't see Moore in immediate danger.
However, now that he has decided not to run, it does open things up in the 3rd district. The number of Republicans who expressed interest on Tuesday also exploded. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, formed an exploratory committee.
Jordan said he has seen numbers that gave him reason to be optimistic about his chances for election to Congress, and Moore's decision not to run helped push him over the top to throw his hat back in the ring.
Others will likely take a hard look or enter the race. Kansas Rep. Pat Colloton, a Leawood Republican who was John McCain's chairwoman for the 3rd district last year, announced Tuesday morning that she also has formed an exploratory committee for the bid.
It's too soon to tell whether other House Democrats in moderate districts also will retire, but at the very least, Moore's decision adds another intriguing race to what promises to be an interesting year in Kansas politics.
Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is asking major news networks to stop referring to the H1N1 virus as "swine flu," saying it is harming the pork industry and farm families across Kansas and the nation.
In the letter, Moran says that the term "swine flu" confuses consumers and could lead them to believe pork is unsafe to eat — despite statements by federal agricultural and health agencies calling it a myth.
"But every time the nightly news or a morning paper references the H1N1 virus as 'swine flu' it reinforces the false belief that pork is unsafe," Moran wrote.
The congressman, whose district includes most of western and north-central Kansas, said the House Agriculture Committee was told H1N1 led to nearly $1.3 billion in lost revenue for the U.S. pork industry in the last six months.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on its Web site still lists references to the "swine flu" and explains why H1N1 is sometimes referred to as that.
Originally laboratory testing showed genes in the new virus were similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in North American pigs.
"But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and bird (avian) genes and human genes," according to the CDC.
The CDC also says people cannot get infected with H1N1 by eating pork.
Senate candidate Jerry Moran, a Kansas University graduate, will get some help in raising money from Nebraska Athletics Director Tom Osborne, a former congressman, at an event before the KU-Nebraska football game Nov. 14 in Lawrence.
Osborne, the legendary Nebraska football coach, will attend the special pregame reception in Johnson County, according to the Moran campaign. KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins is listed as a member of the host committee for the event on the invitation.
Moran, a Hays Republican who represents most of western and central Kansas in the U.S. House, is seeking the GOP nomination for the Senate against Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Goddard Republican.
The time and location of the Osborne-Moran pre-game event have not been announced yet because Big 12 officials have not set a kickoff time for the game, according to Moran's campaign.
A SurveyUSA poll released last week showed Moran with a 16-point lead over Tiahrt.
Last weekend, Tiahrt's campaign also reported earning endorsements from Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and conservative commentator Mark Levin.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran's campaign for a Senate seat says it has scored an endorsement from Sen. John McCain — of Arizona and the GOP's unsuccessful nominee for president last year.
“I’m proud to endorse my friend Jerry Moran in his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Moran has a proven record of fiscal responsibility. He has stood up to irresponsible spending on both sides of the aisle and is not afraid to oppose wasteful earmarks that cheat the American taxpayer,” McCain said in a statement released by Moran's campaign. “With government spending levels reaching record highs and trust in Washington, D.C., reaching record lows, we need a leader of courage and integrity like Jerry Moran to help get our country back on track.”
Moran, a Kansas University graduate from Hays whose House district includes most of western and central Kansas, will face U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, in the GOP primary in August 2010.
“Sen. John McCain is an inspiration to countless Kansans and our entire nation. His courage and valor make him one of America’s true heroes. He is a man who has truly put his country first against all odds,” Moran said. “His strong endorsement for my candidacy is very humbling and gives our campaign great momentum in the months ahead.”
Moran has also received endorsements from several other senators: Jim DeMint, South Carolina; Richard Burr, North Carolina; John Thune, South Dakota; Tom Coburn, Oklahoma; and Mike Johanns, Nebraska.
Tiahrt has earned endorsements from former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, former Rep. Jim Ryun, former education secretary Bill Bennett and Kansans for Life.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, during a House floor speech Thursday argued to restrict public funding for abortions and suggested abortion could deprive the world of future great minds and named President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as examples.
Tiahrt said financial incentives could encourage women who were "single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion."
"If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in a similar circumstance," Tiahrt said. "If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?"
The liberal blog The Huffington Post criticized the comments and posted a video of the speech on its Web site. Chris Harris, a former Kansas Democratic Party communications director who now works for the Media Matters Action Network, said Tiahrt "embarrassed the state."
Tiahrt, a Republican whose district includes Wichita, is seeking the GOP nomination for a Senate seat in 2010 against Rep. Jerry Moran.
“He can’t even do his current job without morphing into an object of ridicule. Why in the world would Kansas voters give him a promotion?” Harris said.
Given his political experience in Washington, former Democratic House member Dan Glickman is probably a natural prospect as the party seeks a Senate candidate in 2010.
But Glickman, in recent comments to Politico, hinted "that flirting is too strong a word" at this point.
Still, no Democrat with statewide name recognition has stepped forward, and Glickman does have Washington credentials having represented the Wichita area in the House, served as the agriculture secretary during the Clinton administration and now leading the Motion Picture Association of America.
The Democratic nominee would face a tough race between the winner in the GOP primary between House members Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. The seat is open because Sen. Sam Brownback has announced his intent to run for governor.
The GOP Senate campaign between two Kansas Congressmen, Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran, has received much attention in the media since January.
Polls have the two House members virtually tied for the August 2010 primary.
Tiahrt's campaign has created a statewide ad that blasts President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the federal stimulus package.
Moran, of Hays, during a Monday interview with the Journal-World declined to say much on the campaign with his fellow House member.
"The best campaign for office is to do the job that you have as well as you know how to do it," he said.
From a political standpoint, that might be the safest response to give a reporter. However, it did bring up an interesting question: How do the candidates balance the politics of campaigning against each other without making voters sick of hearing about it?
It's also risky, given that members of Congress have so much on their plates this summer.
After all, the election is more than a year away, and the only Democrat to express interest in the race so far is retired communications executive Charles Schollenberger, of Prairie Village.
On another note, Anne Schroeder Mullins, of Politco's Shenanigan's blog, has pointed out criticism of Tiahrt's Senate campaign logo. Kansas Democrats on Tuesday morning have circulated her post via Twitter and an e-mail to media members.
As she toured the prison Monday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said President Barack Obama should put forward a plan before closing the detention facility.
"I am hopeful he will put aside politics and take into account the potential risks of moving these detainees and the huge sum of taxpayer dollars it will take to either build a new facility or majorly upgrade an existing one," said Jenkins, a Republican, in a statement.
The state's congressional delegation has been opposed to housing any of the detainees at the military prison in northeastern Kansas. Obama has vowed to close the detention facility by January 2010, but the administration has not named a specific site or sites where the detainees will be transferred.
Jenkins toured Guantanamo with a House delegation, and she called it a "state-of-the-art detention facility" so large that it would "be physically impossible to recreate" a similar one at Fort Leavenworth.
"Closing Guantanamo Bay is unnecessary and doing it without a plan to relocate the detainees is irresponsible," Jenkins said. "And I will continue my fight to keep suspected terrorists from being transferred to Fort Leavenworth."
In other Kansas congressional news, a Survey USA poll conducted last weekend continues to show a tight Republican primary Senate race between Rep. Jerry Moran and Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
The two are seeking the seat of Sen. Sam Brownback, who will run for governor. The poll has Moran, of Hays, ahead 40 percent to 38 percent over Tiahrt, of Goddard, with 22 percent of voters still undecided. Conservatives favored Tiahrt in the poll, while more moderates chose Moran.