Bleeding Kansas

March 2nd, 2009 at 10:09 pm | 1 Comment |

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In Kansas, viagra economic problems are often viewed as the consequences of moral lapses. Former Sen. Sam Brownback, sovaldi whom Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-4) and Rep. Jerry Moran (R-1) are now running to replace, is known to believe that “the cause of poverty is spiritual rather than ‘mechanistic’”. Much like Brownback, Rep. Tiahrt has asserted on several occasions that what afflicts the communities of Kansas is a “crisis of the soul” that has come from an abandonment of God and family values. As such, Tiahrt has made a name for himself as a vocal social conservative, having been a strong supporter of Kansans for Life (KFL) and an enthusiastic participant at the annual Washington, DC March for Life.

By contrast, Rep. Jerry Moran has kept his views on moral issues quiet. Brandon Kenig, Vice-Chair of Public Relations for the Johnson County Young Republicans, notes that, unlike Tiahrt, Moran “doesn’t stress his views on social issues that tend to divide the party.”

Although Moran was a featured speaker at KFL’s breakfast during the statewide GOP convention a few weeks ago, some Kansas Republicans feel that his pro-life message was “not characteristic” of a Congressman who has built a reputation on fiscal conservatism rather than an opposition to abortion. Whereas Moran is known to be pro-life, he is better known for a free-market philosophy that has seen him departing from Republican positions on such issues as the Cuban embargo, the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the establishment of No Child Left Behind. While Tiahrt is known to have more support from older Republicans and the party establishment, it is thought that Moran’s fiscal conservatism has led to greater interest from younger, more moderate Republicans.

This upcoming race will be, as Kenig suggested to NewMajority, one of the “most unpredictable and interesting primaries we’ve had in Kansas in a long time”. About a month ago, The Washington Post ranked the Moran-Tiahrt race as the fifth most competitive primary in the country. Since then, competition has only intensified, as Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D), long rumored to be a contender for the Senate seat, seems poised to receive the nod as President Obama’s HHS Secretary-designate. If this occurs, it is likely that whoever wins the Republican primary will be the next Senator from Kansas, especially considering that no Democrat has won a Senate seat in Kansas since 1932.

On the other hand, if Sebelius does run for the Senate, 75 years of Republican domination could be in jeopardy. Early polls show Sebelius with a double-digit lead over both Moran and Tiahrt, and since 2010 is shaping up to be a third tough year in a row for Republicans, these early polls need to be taken seriously. Although it may seem counterintuitive, Republicans might be wise to welcome Sebelius’ appointment to HHS, as it would dramatically increase the likeliness that they hold the Kansas Senate seat.

At the end of the day, Kansas Republicans should put holding the seat ahead of factional politics. This means that Republicans need to ask themselves whether Moran’s moderate views make him more electable, considering the tough political environment that Republicans will be facing in 2010.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • telockwood

    Tim – I appreciate you writing on the evets of Kansas, but, I think clearly see some of the issues, but you’re a little off the mark. Kansas essentially has 3 political parties – the Democrats, the Conservative Republicans, and the Modrate Republicans. With the exception of Wichita , KCK, and the island of Liberalism that surrounds Lawrence, KS, the state remains firmly in the Republican arena and I cannot even fathom a Democrat being elected to National Office.As you outlined, the essential point is that in-fighting between the two “wings” of the party can provide openings for the Democrats – which we’ve seen at the state level. In Kansas, the primaries can be so vicious that a voter can end up hating all the candidates. In the past few elections, it wasn’t that voters liked the Democrats running, but disliked the Republican candidates (not the party) even more (The exception being Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore who is well liked as an individual). Sometimes the issues aren’t the whole driving force. Sometimes it’s if a candidate “is a jerk” or someone “I can relate to”.