Category Archives: Kansas delegation

So they said

brownbackofficialmug“It’s law. It’s going to happen.” – Gov. Sam Brownback (in photo), saying he opposes the proposal of his Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, to postpone additional scheduled state income tax cuts

“Western Kansas sees it as not real Kansas.” – Kansas Republican Party executive director Clay Barker, to the Hill newspaper, about Johnson County, home to U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf

“Rolling into Dodge City. I wonder if there are any recliners for rent.” – Wolf, tweeting a dig at Sen. Pat Roberts’ February statement that he has “full access to the recliner” at the home of some Dodge City donors

“They’re a bunch of humorless has-beens who don’t like being outed as Democrats.” – Rep. J.R. Claeys, R-Salina, in the Salina Journal, doubling down on his recent tweet that Democrat Paul Davis’ gubernatorial campaign “really raided the nursing home” to find the Republicans endorsing him

When candidates don’t debate, voters lose

debateThe hot races of the unseasonably cool summer in Kansas have seen a scarcity of debates. That may serve candidates strategically but makes losers of the voters. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and former Rep. Todd Tiahrt sparred at a Wichita Crime Commission forum and have agreed to debate on TV (6:30 p.m. Monday, KWCH, Channel 12) and radio (6 p.m. July 27, KNSS 1330-AM). Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, and challenger Alan LaPolice shared the stage at a Liberal event. Secretary of State Kris Kobach and GOP challenger Scott Morgan both spoke to Wichita Pachyderm Club members on Friday. But there have been too few public face-offs, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has declined to debate tea partier Milton Wolf. As the Kansas City Star’s Steve Kraske said in expressing disappointment in Roberts: “At election time, we expect our candidates to stand side by side with their opponents and address the day’s pressing issues. At least once, right?”

So they said

santorum“Sam Brownback ruffles feathers. He takes on dragons.” – former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (in photo), campaigning in Olathe for the governor’s re-election

“Reagan didn’t turn the country around in the first six months of tax reduction. I think we’re in fine shape.” – Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, telling Bloomberg that criticism of Brownback’s tax cuts is unwarranted and Kansas is the “point of the spear”

“Well, they don’t call the Senate the assisted living home for nothing.” – Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., after a Johnson County GOP official inadvertently introduced him as the state’s “senior citizen” rather than its senior senator

“I think he’s a fine man. He just lacks leadership skills. Washington is in a deadlock, but that might be a good thing when you’re talking about government.” – former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, talking about President Obama during a Cottonwood Falls visit

Orman ad likely resonates with Kansans

orman,gregGreg Orman faces long odds running as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas. But a campaign advertisement he released last week likely will resonate with many Kansans. It shows red and blue teams competing in a muddy tug-of-war contest. “Washington’s stuck between two parties who care more about winning than they care about our country,” Orman says in the ad, adding that “most Kansans just want government to live within its means and stop telling the rest of us how to live our lives.”

No wonder farm groups aren’t backing Huelskamp

huelskamp,timThe decision by top Kansas farm groups not to endorse Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, speaks a thousand words about Huelskamp’s misplaced priorities and belligerent behavior. Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association refused to endorse Huelskamp, who was kicked off the House Agriculture Committee and has voted repeatedly against farm bills. And this wasn’t an insider decision; local committees in each county in Huelskamp’s district voted on whom Farm Bureau should endorse. Though Huelskamp’s combative, uncompromising style gets him bookings on cable TV talk shows, it has made him an ineffective representative for the farmers and ranchers in his district – and anyone else who wants to see results, not just “no” votes.

Tiahrt not impressed by 57 votes against Obamacare

tiahrtnewmugA campaign commercial by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, brags that he has voted 57 times against Obamacare. His GOP primary opponent, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt, isn’t impressed. Somewhere between the seventh and 57th vote they should have figured out it wouldn’t work, Tiahrt told The Eagle editorial board. The GOP House needs to pick its fights wisely, Tiahrt said, and use its power over the purse strings to get what it wants. Pompeo concedes that “there is a little bit of repetition” to some of the votes. But he told the editorial board that the Affordable Care Act is such an enormous change that House Republicans have an obligation to continue to make their case and express their vision.

No surprise that KochPAC prefers Pompeo

pompeo2“KochPAC is proud to support Mike Pompeo for Congress based on his strong support for market-based policies and economic freedom, which benefits society as a whole,” Mark Nichols, vice president of government and public affairs for Koch Industries, told Politico. That’s not surprising, as the Wichita Republican has been closely associated, politically and ideologically, with Koch Industries. Some liberal groups even call Pompeo the congressman from Koch. But Koch had also been a longtime backer of Pompeo’s opponent, Todd Tiahrt. The former representative received nearly $330,000 from Koch’s political action committee and Koch employees during his eight terms in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Is tea party challenge making Roberts cranky?

roberts2Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., “has never been the cheeriest guy in the Senate,” Politico reported this week. But the GOP primary challenge by Milton Wolf “has sent the senator into a frequent state of agitation.” Roberts “has appeared increasingly on edge, several of his colleagues say, and his voting pattern, according to rankings by conservative groups, has shifted markedly to the right,” the website reported. When asked by The Eagle editorial board last week about Wolf’s charge that he is a career politician who is out of touch with Kansas, Roberts noted that he recently completed a listening tour of all 105 Kansas counties. “That’s just ridiculous,” he said.

Moran, Roberts disagree on federal media shield law

justiceladyMore than 70 media organizations recently sent a letter to the U.S. Senate leaders asking for a vote on the Free Flow of Information Act, a media shield law meant to help protect reporters when federal prosecutors try to compel them to reveal their sources. “The ability to protect confidential sources is the oxygen that investigative reporting needs to survive,” the organizations wrote. Asked last week by The Eagle editorial board about a federal shield law, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said he sponsored such a bill in the House and likely would be supportive as a senator. Moran pointed to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal as a great example of investigative journalism and its benefits. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told the editorial board that such a law shouldn’t be needed if the First Amendment is applied properly. The issue has taken on more urgency since the U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to take up the case of New York Times reporter James Risen, who was told by a federal appeals court to testify in the case of a CIA officer accused of leaking classified information related to Iran’s nuclear program.

McConnell takes another step forward on tankers

kc-46atankerThe new KC-46A tanker mission at McConnell Air Force Base took another welcome step forward Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony for the infrastructure work, which includes three new hangars. McConnell was selected last year to be the main active-duty operating base for the tankers, and the first of 36 tankers are expected to begin arriving in early 2016. There has been some bickering lately between Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and his GOP primary challenger, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt, about who deserves credit for the project. But many people worked for years to secure the project, which is a big and needed economic boost for the region. As Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told The Eagle editorial board Monday, “What a wonderful day for Wichita.”

Roberts, Kobach doing better than Brownback

robertsmugkobachThough Gov. Sam Brownback is trailing his Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, in a new poll, two other incumbents are faring better. Sen. Pat Roberts (left), R-Kan., is leading Milton Wolf in the GOP primary by 56 to 23 percent, according to a SurveyUSA poll sponsored by KSN, Channel 3. He also leads his potential Democratic opponent, Chad Taylor, 43 to 33 percent. (Of note: Taylor leads Wolf in a hypothetical general election matchup 36 to 33 percent.) Secretary of State Kris Kobach (right) leads GOP challenger Scott Morgan 61 to 29 percent, and he is ahead of Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf 47 to 41 percent. In Wichita, Schodorf leads Kobach 51 to 40 percent.

So they said

sebeliuswhite“Not a chance.” – former Obama Cabinet member Kathleen Sebelius (in photo), asked Friday whether she’d run for office again in Kansas

“I congratulate Thad Cochran on winning the Democratic primary in Mississippi.” – Milton Wolf, tea party challenger to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., tweeting after the Mississippi senator narrowly escaped a tea party challenge

“Attn. pundits: Unlike MS, in KS voters are registered by party and legislature took steps to minimize Democrat voting in GOP primary.” – Roberts campaign manager Leroy Towns, tweeting about the same election

“I don’t think we should acquiesce to bad laws.” – Lawrence City Commissioner Terry Riordan, on the city’s refusal to repeal its concealed knife ordinance even though a new state law prohibits local bans

“Sen. Wagle is probably as honest as anybody about this.” – Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, on Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, saying a goal of the tax cuts was to force budget cuts

Politics at all levels has room for improvement

debate“Change second terms of presidents and governors to two-year miniterms,” and “require candidates for federal office, governor and mayor to take part in at least three debates no matter the strength of the opponent,” suggested Kansas City Star columnist Steve Kraske. In his more perfect political world, presidential caucuses and primaries wouldn’t begin until April or May, independent commissions of retired judges would redraw districts, and donors to independent campaign ads would have to reveal themselves. And that three-debate mandate? “The rule would apply to primaries, too,” Kraske wrote. “Voters deserve it, and that would avoid the silly dance that Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is now performing as he seeks to skip a showdown with Milton Wolf.”

Jobs, economy biggest concerns in 4th District poll

jobless“Absence Does Not Make the KS-04 Heart Grow Fonder,” reported SurveyUSA in releasing its poll showing two-term Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, with 51 percent support compared with 34 percent for eight-term former Rep. Todd Tiahrt for the Aug. 5 GOP primary. In the poll, sponsored by KSN News, Channel 3 in Wichita, 43 percent of likely primary voters said jobs and the economy were the biggest factors in their vote; 26 percent said Obamacare while 14 percent said immigration.

Huelskamp to husbands: ‘Love your family’

huelskamp,timRep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, made an emotional speech Thursday at the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Standing with his family and addressing “every husband in America,” Huelskamp said: “Your children need you. Your woman, your wife, she needs you. It’s time that you become a real man and stand up for those who need you. Love your family, love your wife, love your children because they desperately need you. They’re desperately looking for a husband. They’re desperately looking for a father. Be a real man of God, because this is about you. Marriage is about you, and your wife, and your children.” But critics noted that Huelskamp doesn’t believe “marriage is about you” if you are gay, despite public opinion moving toward extending marriage equality to same-sex couples. According to the Pew Research Center, opposition to same-sex marriage has dropped from 54 to 39 percent in just five years.

Huelskamp’s loss of ag seat didn’t represent constituents

huelskampA seat on the House Agriculture Committee was a given for Kansas. But a year and a half after losing his spots on that panel and the House Budget Committee because of his combative relationship with House leadership, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, shows no signs of remorse. “The loss of the two seats – that was punishment for being too conservative,” he told Fox News host Mike Huckabee over the weekend. In discussing last week’s primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Huelskamp said: “At the end of the day, you’ve got to represent your constituents.” But how did getting booted off the ag panel represent Kansas’ “Big First”? The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling noted that Huelskamp’s own GOP primary challenger, Alan LaPolice, has made regaining the ag spot a top priority: It’s possible, Helling wrote, “that rural Kansas voters will wonder why their current congressman would rather appear on Fox News than, you know, work on farm policy.”

Tiahrt flip-flop on snooping?

eavesdrop4National Security Agency snooping may be one of the few points of identifiable disagreement between Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and his predecessor-turned-challenger. “Mr. Pompeo says NSA isn’t listening to our calls but Gen. Clapper admits they are,” former Rep. Todd Tiahrt tweeted last week, linking to a commentary about Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s admission that analysts searched the content of Americans’ e-mails and phone calls without a warrant. But Tiahrt cast votes supporting President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping and the Patriot Act, which granted authorities sweeping new surveillance powers. And in a 2007 hearing, Tiahrt told then-DNI Mike McConnell: “I’m glad that we were able to update the law to move ourselves as a country into the electronic age…. I too am very hesitant to inject more lawyers and judicial process into the system, which appears to only slow things down and makes us in essence less safe.”

Pompeo-Tiahrt race a ‘referendum on earmarks’?

tiahrt2The Weekly Standard took note of the “curious challenge to a GOP incumbent” being posed by former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (in photo) to his successor, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita. An article by Mark Hemingway headlined “A Referendum on Earmarks” explored Tiahrt’s efforts to blame Wichita’s economic woes on Pompeo, quoting Tiahrt campaign manager Robert Noland as saying, “Half our aviation companies have left in the past couple years” and “when Todd was in office he did a lot of work to try to keep jobs here.” Hemingway observed: “It’s certainly a novel approach in the tea party era for a GOP candidate to signal they intend to bring home the federal bacon.”

Roberts’ record makes him safer than Cochran

yardsignIn the months leading up to last week’s tight GOP Senate primary in Mississippi, Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., were often mentioned together – longtime incumbents facing tea party challengers to their right. So why is the 76-year-old Cochran facing a June 24 runoff and seemingly in trouble while 78-year-old Roberts is looking strong for the August primary? “Cochran is an old-school pol who doesn’t often lead the charge against President Obama. He’s courtly, low-key. His opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is a firebrand who’s been compared to a Southern preacher. That in-your-face approach appeals to conservative voters,” wrote the Kansas City Star’s Steve Kraske. Meanwhile, Roberts has “been consistently tough on the president. And while he’s brought home his share of pork, he isn’t in Cochran’s league. Roberts votes so consistently conservative that his opponent, Milton Wolf, has struggled to make a case before the August primary,” Kraske wrote.

Moran made emotional VA plea shortly before dad’s death

morannewCondolences to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., whose father, 98-year-old Ray Moran of Plainville, died Friday. A day earlier the senator had mentioned his father – who had served as an Army staff sergeant in North Africa and Italy in World War II and later worked for Skelly Oil Co. for 32 years – during an emotional plea on the Senate floor for a bipartisan solution to the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs. “We are called upon as American citizens, certainly as members of the United States Senate, to do all the things that we can do to demonstrate that we thank our veterans for their service, we respect them, and we love them. The Senate needs to rise to the occasion and not let the partisan politics of this place and this country divide us in a way in which we only symbolically respond but the end result is that we failed those who served and we failed our veterans who depend upon us just as we’ve depended upon them for their service to our country,” Moran concluded. The funeral and burial service for Ray Moran will be held Tuesday in Plainville.

Will campaign donors switch back to Tiahrt from Pompeo?

money-bag“Want to see a nasty GOP House primary? Oh, it’s just getting started in Kansas,” observed the Washington Post in reporting the news of former Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s decision to challenge his successor, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita. Among the fascinating questions about this two-month sprint will be whether Tiahrt comes up with the cash to rival Pompeo’s $2.1 million (as of March 31), and whether donors who shifted from Tiahrt to Pompeo will shift back or just back both. For example, OpenSecrets.org lists Koch Industries as the top contributor to both, crediting individuals and PACs connected to the Wichita-based company with more than $328,000 in donations to Tiahrt (1993-2010) and more than $239,000 to Pompeo (since 2010). Textron, which owns Cessna and now also Beechcraft, is third on both men’s lists. One big change for Tiahrt: His second-biggest source of contributions over his congressional career, Boeing, has nearly finished closing its Wichita site.

So they said

dolemug“Well, I’m from the old school where I thought marriage was between a man and a woman. But again, I’m a tolerant person, so I’ll go along with the flow.” – former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole (in photo), telling Politico he isn’t troubled by how the nation is changing regarding same-sex marriage

“Kansas has three great things going for it. First of all, it has a great governor – we all agree with that. Secondly, it has a great tax policy. And thirdly and most important, Missouri has an idiot for a governor.” – Rex Sinquefield, Missouri political donor and retired investment executive, speaking recently at a Heritage Foundation forum in Washington, D.C.

“Sometimes the best legislation that we get done is the legislation that we don’t get passed.” – Sen. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, about the defeat of a bill to eliminate conservation easements

Tiahrt not sleeping well because of Pompeo?

tiahrtbackThe 4th Congressional District race suddenly became a lot more competitive now that former Rep. Todd Tiahrt is challenging incumbent Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita. It’s still unclear what Tiahrt’s case is against Pompeo. They both are very conservative and share the same views on most issues, including abortion. About the only policy difference Tiahrt has pointed to is Pompeo’s defense of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. Pompeo has a huge fundraising lead, but Tiahrt still has a lot of grassroots volunteers and is an aggressive campaigner. Tiahrt will also have to explain why he enthusiastically endorsed Pompeo in 2010 and 2012 but now thinks he should be voted out of office. When Tiahrt endorsed Pompeo in October 2010, he said three times that he’d “sleep well at night” if Pompeo replaced him.

Delegation united against study of climate change

CORRECTION Arctic MeltAll four U.S. representatives from Kansas voted last week to block the Defense Department from spending any money to study the effects of climate change and its impact on national security, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act also bars the Pentagon from implementing the United Nations’ Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, the subject of a one-world conspiracy theory pushed by some conservatives. Tom Brandt, spokesman for Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, said that Jenkins does not doubt the link between man-made carbon emissions and global climate change, calling the link “pretty undeniable.” He said the issue is who sets policy, Congress or the executive branch. The Defense Department has participated in the National Climate Assessment program since 1989, during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Roy lived a full life of service

billroyBill Roy, who died early Monday at the age of 88, lived a full life of service. Roy served in the U.S. Air Force, as a Topeka physician (he delivered more than 8,000 babies), as a member of Congress, and as a community volunteer and devoted family man. Roy also wrote newspaper commentaries, some of which appeared in The Eagle. His last commentary in The Eagle was published April 20, 2013, and was about Jackie Robinson and the movie “42.” Roy wrote that “black athletes and musicians helped remove the blinders on white Americans’ eyes and let us see the scholars, scientists and leaders whose released talents make us a stronger nation today.” Roy’s talents made Kansas stronger. As Gov. Sam Brownback noted in a statement about Roy: “He served the people of Kansas proudly and well.”