Daily Archives: Nov. 5, 2013

Any Roberts challenger faces long odds

Toppling three-term Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., would be a long shot for anybody, let alone a little-known district attorney. Further complicating Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor’s decision of whether to run is that Kansas Democrats’ most recent victor in a U.S. Senate election was George McGill in 1932. But a recent SurveyUSA poll, sponsored by KWCH, Channel 12, indicated Roberts isn’t invincible, finding 54 percent disapprove of his job performance. And it’s healthy for the state for voters to have choices, and for someone who has served on Capitol Hill as long as Roberts (32 years) to have to defend his record and justify re-election. Taylor said Monday that he will conduct listening tours around the state before deciding on a 2014 Senate run. Roberts also faces a long-shot challenger from the right, Leawood radiologist Milton Wolf (a distant cousin and harsh critic of President Obama).

Open thread (Nov. 5)

GOP tries to turn higher education against K-12

State Rep. Jerry Lunn, R-Overland Park, warned University of Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little last week that KU and other state universities should prepare for significant decreases in funding if the Kansas Supreme Court orders legislators to increase funding to public schools, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. “You really do have a horse in this race,” Lunn told Gray-Little, even suggesting that she “talk to your friendly Supreme Court justices.” But Democratic lawmakers counter that any budget problems the state may face are due to the GOP’s massive income-tax cuts, not the court or K-12 education. “Where we are now is because of the actions that the Legislature and governor took,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.

Fiercest Obama opponents come from poor districts

The 45 House Republicans who have most consistently pushed their caucus to brinkmanship represent districts (mostly in the Deep South) that are significantly worse off economically than the nation at large, the Washington Post reported. “The median income in those districts last year was 7 percent lower than the national median, according to the Census Bureau,” the Post said. “The unemployment rate averaged 10 percent. That was almost 2 percentage points higher than the national rate, and 2 percentage points higher than the overall rate in the states that contain each district.”