Monthly Archives: July 2010

Out-of-state group’s ad attack on Hartman and Schodorf moves to TV

An Ohio third-party political group has moved from radio to television in attacking Kansas 4th District congressional candidates Jean Schodorf and Wink Hartman.

The television ads by Common Sense Issues, which began surfacing today, are similar to radio spots the group ran earlier in the week. The source of funding for the ad campaign is unknown.

Federal Election Commission filings show the group has now spent at least $76,600 opposing Hartman and Schodorf, and supporting Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo campaign spokesman Josh Wells has said the campaign has nothing to do with the ads.

The television version of the Common Sense Issues ad calls both candidates RINOs, an acronym for “Republican in name only.”

Its script is similar to the radio version, although it drops the original opening of a man trying to obtain a “hunting license” because he is “trying to bag a RINO.”

The Schodorf campaign had vehemently complained that they thought the original ad advocated violence against their candidate.

As in the radio spot, the TV ad criticizes Schodorf for “refusing” to sign a pledge to seek to ban all public funding of abortions and Planned Parenthood.

Schodorf has said she never heard of the pledge, which turned out to be an online petition created by Common Sense Issues itself.

The group’s Web site shows Pompeo, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, as its only Kansas signatories. The ad also criticizes a comment Hartman made in an Eagle interview, 29 years ago, supporting Planned Parenthood.

Hartman, who opposes abortion under all circumstances and most forms of birth control, has said he did not know of Planned Parenthood’s abortion-rights advocacy when he made his comment during a 1981 race for Wichita City Commission.

Common Sense Issues has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Biggs predicts a 19 percent turnout for Kansas primary

vote-2010-header-300x48TOPEKA – Secretary of State Chris Biggs challenged Kansas voters on Friday to prove his 19 percent voter turnout prediction wrong.

That means of the state’s 1.7 million registered voters 324,000 are expected to cast ballots. That compares to 371,121 voters who participated in the 2008 primary or 22.45 percent of 1.65 million registered voters.

Biggs also said he was encouraged to see more Kansans registering to vote.

Total voter registration was 53,827 people more than in 2008; that figure includes Libertarian and Reform party voters.

Unaffiliated and Democratic voters saw the largest registration surge.

The number of unaffiliated voters increased by 38,764 to 490,395 voters, while the number of people registered as Democrats increased 11,260, bringing the total to 460,318.

Republicans still lead the state in the number of registered voters — 744,975 for this cycle — but their numbers increased the least with 3,189.

For more, read Saturday’s Wichita Eagle.

New 4th District poll puts Pompeo in front with Schodorf mounting a late challenge

A new SurveyUSA poll in the Kansas 4th District Republican primary shows that GOP National Committeeman Mike Pompeo continues to lead with Sen. Jean Schodorf now in second place and rising.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Raj Goyle rebounded from a poor showing in an identical poll two weeks ago, and now holds a 3-1 lead over challenger Robert Tillman.

The poll commissioned by KWCH-TV and released today showed Pompeo with support from 31 percent of voters surveyed.

Schodorf came in at 24 percent, barely within the poll’s 3.5 percent plus-or-minus margin of error.

Businessman Wink Hartman stood at 23 percent, down from 31 percent two weeks ago.

Rounding out the field were small-business owner Jim Anderson, 13 percent and engineer and rancher Paij Rutschman, 2 percent.

Six percent were undecided.

“If Schodorf can motivate her base of more moderate, pro-choice Republicans to vote, Schodorf may ride her wave of momentum to victory when votes are counted (Tuesday),” said SurveyUSA’s polling memo. “The more conservative and pro-life the electorate, the more likely Pompeo will withstand Schodorf’s challenge.”

On the Democratic side, Goyle is now polling at 63 percent with Tillman at 19 percent and 18 percent undecided. That’s a reversal from two weeks ago when Tillman held a 40-36 lead.

“As the candidates now head into the final weekend of campaigning, Goyle appears to have sealed the deal,” SurveyUSA concluded.

Wichita aircraft leaders back Tiahrt

vote 2010 headerFive leaders in Wichita’s aircraft industry announced today their endorsement of U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate  in Kansas.

Bill Boisture of Hawker Beechcraft, David Coleal of Bombardier Learjet, Jack Pelton of Cessna, Jeff Turner of Spirit AeroSystems and Steve Wade of Boeing Wichita signed a letter that described Tiahrt as a “true advocate for the aerospace industry and jobs in our state.”

Tiahrt, whose 4th Congressional District includes Wichita, is battling Rep. Jerry Moran of Hays for the open seat. Tom Little, a Mound City accountant, is also a GOP candidate.

The primary election is Tuesday.

Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association endorses Elizabeth Ensley for secretary of state

vote-2010-header-300x48TOPEKA – Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association endorsed their first candidate ever on Thursday, picking Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth “Libby” Ensley.

Ensley, a Republican, is running against J.R. Claeys, of Salina, and former Kansas GOP Chairman and law professor Kris Kobach in the Aug. 3 primary.

“We have worked with Libby for many years in the association and she has proven herself to be an engaged, innovative member of our organization,” said Linda Buttron, Jefferson County Clerk and current president of the association in the written announcement. “We believe she has the knowledge and ability to carry out the responsibilities and the duties of the office of Secretary of State.”

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis endorses Chris Biggs for Secretary of State

vote-2010-header-300x48TOPEKA – Citing Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs’ work experience and reputation, House Democratic Leader Paul Davis on Thursday urged voters to support Biggs in his election efforts.

Davis said he made the decision “primarily because of the great depth of experience he (Biggs) brings to the secretary of state’s office.”

Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, appointed Biggs to the office earlier this year after former Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, a Republican, left to take a job in the private sector.

Biggs is running against state Sen. Chris Steineger, of Kansas City, Kan., in the Aug. 3 primary. Advance voting started July 14 and satellite polling stations opened today in Sedgwick County.

Davis, who represents Lawrence, said Biggs would uphold the tradition of administering the office in a fair and impartial manner.

Davis also said the endorsement was not a criticism of Steineger’s record, but was based on Biggs’ experience.

The winner of the primary will face the Republican primary victor in November.

Moran, Tiahrt combine to spend nearly $2 million in two weeks

In the hotly contested race for the U.S. Senate in Kansas,  congressmen Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt combined to spend nearly $2 million on their campaigns during the first two weeks of July.

Moran spent nearly $1.5 million and Tiahrt a little over $466,000, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Since their campaigns began, the two candidates have spent more than $6.7 million  through July 14 _ $4.5 million for Moran and $2.2 million for Tiahrt .

As of July 14, Tiahrt had  about $93,500 more cash on hand than Moran. Tiahrt had $889,000, Moran had $795,000.

Tiahrt raised nearly $50,000 more than Moran during the first 14 days of July. Tiahrt received almost $72,000 in contributions and Moran $22,000.

For the life of their campaigns, they have combined to raise nearly $5 million — $2.9 million for Moran and $2.1 million for Tiahrt.

Moran started the campaign with more money. He carried over $2.4 million from his congressional races and Tiahrt carried over $1 million.

Congressional candidates in Kansas were required to file a pre-primary report by July 22. The primary is Tuesday.

Sheriff not impressed with commissioner’s ideas for jail

Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said a plan that commissioner Gwen Welshimer unveiled today about the jail lacks innovation and new ideas.

Hinshaw also expressed concern that Welshimer did not talk to him about her ideas for the future of the jail.

“I would think since I’m charged by law to run the jail she would also want to have my input,” Hinshaw told The Eagle this afternoon.

Hinshaw also is chairman of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group charged with coming up with solutions to jail overcrowding. Welshimer serves on the council, as do judges, prosecutors, Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams and others involved in the criminal justice system.

Hinshaw said he asked Welshimer last week if the CJCC could assist her with her plan, and she declined help.

Welshimer said she was not surprised by the sheriff’s reaction to her plan.

Welshimer told her fellow board members that she has worked on the plan for a few months. It includes:

–Expanded pre-trial services and drug and mental health courts.

–Remote booking stations, which would reduce the number of people waiting in the booking section of the jail.

–Expanding mental health treatment. But Welshimer said the jail should not be a provider of psychiatric care.

–Adding a jail liaison who would work for commissioners.

–Using jail fees to operate expanded mental health services.

Read more about the issue in Thursday’s Eagle.

Commissioners vote to sell land at Washington and Waterman

072710lotforsale_bcThe northwest corner of Washington and Waterman will go up for sale by Sedgwick County, commissioners agreed this morning.

The board voted 3 to 1 — with Kelly Parks voting against — to put the property up for sale by sealed bid.

Parks said the property could be used for downtown and arena parking.

The county bought the land in 2007 to make intersection improvements before the opening of Intrust Bank Arena. It didn’t need all of the land, and about 43,000 square feet is available. The land includes one 4,130-square-foot building.

The county has ordered an appraisal of the land, which it bought for just less than $1 million.

Read more about the property in Thursday’s Eagle.

Advance voting going well for next week’s primary

vote 2010 headerSedgwick County’s elections office has mailed out 13,000 advance ballots for next week’s primary, and voters have returned about half those, elections commissioner Bill Gale told commissioners this morning.

During the 2008 primary, the office sent out 10,000 advance ballots, Gale said.

Early voting in person opened last week at the elections office at the historic courthouse, and about 750 have voted there so far, Gale said. That’s about 33 percent more than at this time for the 2008 primary, he said.

The county’s 15 satellite voting centers open Thursday.

Today is the last day voters can request an advance ballot. Friday will be the last day the office mails them out. Advance ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on election day, Aug. 3.

Gale is anticipating a 20 percent turnout for the primary compared with 15 percent in 2008 and 16 percent in 2006.