Over the past few months, I've taken time to write about the issues facing Kansas and many of our state and federal races. The backstory to all of these diaries though is really about the level of implosion happening with the Republican party this year. Hardened primary battles and back and forth wars over who should win and how a campaign should be run.
The last few weeks, however, have been unbelievable in the level of craziness that has occurred within these campaigns and as a result, a real opportunity is opening up for candidates across Kansas.
Since each race in Kansas has an unbelievable level of craziness, I'm going to try and go through each of them, just so you can see where the Kansas Republican Party is.. well, unable to get out of their own way.
Since I've most recently diaried about District 1, I want to start with a story that is coming out of District 3, or the Kansas City area (Johnson County, Wyandotte County). This area, previously served by a democrat for 10 years is now served by Kevin Yoder, he of the foreign-trip skinny dip in Israel. Now, Kevin has found himself surrounded by campaign staff and county chairs that can't shoot straight.
A few weeks ago, a county chair issued a public statement calling for Democrat Kelly Kultala to be excommunicated over her feelings on the issue of choice.
While Yoder has refused to comment or rebuke those statements, his apathy at running his own office and campaign has apparently unsealed the lips of other Johnson County Republican officials to make some choice comments:
That's right. In a single day, the GOP Vice Chair mocked the hobby lobby ruling by contending women who believe in equal rights were largely unattractive, and then that the conservative way to handle those of a different faith was to go out of their way to offend them.... with a gun in tow.
Kelly Kultala, running in that district, might find it timely to point out that threatening violence against others for their religious beliefs - even ones you disagree with - is not always productive. More importantly, had Kevin Yoder called his party to task earlier for such statements they would have been more guarded in the ridiculous commentary..
District 2 also had a week where the best you can say is that Lynn Jenkins served up a fast ball for Margie Wakefield.
Update, Friday July 25: On Friday, the House passed Rep. Lynn Jenkins' (R-Ks.) child tax credit legislation, which would expand the credit for upper-middle class American families. The bill received the support of 212 Republican and 25 Democrats.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Ks.), changes the way the federal child tax credit works by raising the eligibility cap for married couples. At the same time, the legislation would allow a 2009 child tax credit increase for low-income families to expire at the end of 2017. Here's how that would play out in the coming years. A married couple with two children that bring in $160,000 a year would get a new annual tax cut of $2,200, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). A single mother with two kids who makes $14,500 a year would lose $1,725 annually.Lynn Jenkins, who is running in the newly reformed District 2 in Kansas - a district that is decidedly more blue this time around than any other time she has run - is simply not full of households earning $160 of combined income. It is, however, full of households under the $20k (married) and $14.5k (single) households.
In fact, the median income throughout her district is far closer to $35k in a household.
So, how exactly does a tax break for the wealthy that disadvantages the poor go over exactly?
Margie Wakefield, a campaign I've previously diaried as one of the 'best run' campaigns going is about to find out, as Lynn Jenkins gets forced to defend on the issues.
And then we circle back to the Big 1...
Outside of recent fights with local Renewable Energy groups (threatening to "destroy their business" when he returns to DC) and a fight over farm equities that have left him out in the cold, Huelskamp has in the backchannel turned to a campaign of calling out his opponents over the fact that they - get this - know gay people and apparently don't hate them.
In an email circulating from his campaign team: "Ten Facts You Don't know about LaPolice", Travis Couture-Lovelady, who as a signature is: Proud, lifelong Kansan and Campaign Manager for Kansans for Huelskamp
Provides this as one of the reasons you should not vote for LaPolice in the Kansas Republican Primary:
10. Lapolice's nascent Hollywood career included a part in the pro-homosexual movie, The Art of Being Straight, that won top honors at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival and the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Festival. Click HERE is you wish to see the trailer. WARNING: this trailer is not suitable for children.In other words: Don't vote for LaPolice because he, it seems, is OK with taking money from Gay People and he doesn't detest them. Hell, he was even willing to do a bit part in a movie praised by the gay community.
Huelskamp in a matter of a week and a half has: engaged in a public-relations war with Kansas Renewable Energy, traded a war of words with the Kansas farm associations, and has a campaign manager who is running a last-ditch smear campaign to run up the numbers against a primary opponent by asserting what is wrong with him is that he apparently doesn't hate gay people.
So... week in review for Kansas:
Kansas Vice Chair of the Republican Party for District 3 goes on the record saying we should attack and offend people as part of our civil duty, and continues by gleefully sharing the sentiment that only unattractive women complain about equality..
District 2 has a candidate who advances legislation that won't help many in her district but will hurt a great number,
And District 1 goes so crazy that we are attacking donors, farmers, and other candidates on grounds that they either fantastically tried to bribe you, know gay people and don't hate them enough or are busy growing corn.
The real question is: When will any of the actual candidates running stand up and disown the vile attacks by their party chairs or even candidates within their own party as beyond the bounds of civil discourse? Based on Kevin Yoder's approach, as well as Huelskamp's continued attacks, I don't think we will see it happen anytime soon.
Update: I forgot to add this.. starting last week, Dr. Milton Wolf, the tea party candidate who is opposing Pat Roberts began crashing Pat Roberts events, including having Milton Wolf go up to him with cameras and saying: why do you refuse to debate? Now, over the weekend, several tea party backers have reportedly been engaging in the same stunts.