A bad day for moderates - and for Kansas
The Kansas City Star
Gov. Sam Brownback got what he wanted Tuesday from Kansas voters: the potential of a much more conservative state Senate.
In Johnson County, only one moderate prevailed out of five hotly contested Republican Senate primaries.
In the end, moderate forces couldn’t overcome the clout of a sitting Republican governor actively campaigning for conservatives, backed by well-financed supporters.
Only Kay Wolf of Prairie Village managed to best her conservative opponent in the primary. Among the talented moderates ousted by the primary results were House member Pat Colloton and Senate incumbent Tim Owens.
With significant conservative gains, the hope here is that Brownback will temper his most radical plans in a statesmanlike nod to fiscal realities and concern for how his policies may play out in the future.
With conservatives solidly in the driver’s seat leading up to the general elections, Kansans concerned about state funding for education, social services and basic services must study the November matchups closely.
Voters will need to compare platforms of candidates in contested races to determine if a more sizable Democratic contingent could act as a healthy counter to the Brownback initiatives.
The likelihood of a one-party Legislature does not bode well for true debate on important issues. The risk is the Legislature becomes an echo chamber for views backed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers.