After giving Governor Sam Brownback a free hand to turn Kansas into a “meth lab of democracy” for far-right policy experiments for more than five disastrous years, Republican voters began turning against Tea Party radicals in Tuesday’s GOP primary election. The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing.
Kansas Republicans delivered the harshest possible rebuke to Representative Tim Huelskamp, “a firebrand Tea Party conservative who lost in a primary landslide after spending most of his six years in Washington feuding with his own leaders. He was so difficult to work with and troublesome that he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee.” Voters in Kansas Send Message by Ousting Tea Party Firebrand Tim Huelskamp From House:
Farm groups joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and another deep-pocketed advocacy group to get behind Roger Marshall, a political novice who promised to work on behalf of Kansas rather than rabble rouse. Mr. Huelskamp had the backing of the Koch brothers political network as well as the conservative group Club for Growth, but it was not enough.
More importantly, Kansas Republicans Rejected Gov. Sam Brownback’s Conservatives in Primary:
Republican voters in Kansas rebelled against the policies of Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday, ousting his fellow conservatives in at least 11 state legislative primary races amid widespread angst about Kansas’s financial situation.
With some races still undetermined on Wednesday, but also leaning toward moderates, the primary was a tangible sign of the grumblings that have been going on under the surface in heavily Republican Kansas, as deep cuts to taxes, a centerpiece of the Brownback agenda, have left the state short on revenue and led to cuts to government services.
The results promised to reshape the dynamics in the Legislature, which has been dominated in recent years by conservatives friendly to Mr. Brownback, and perhaps add pressure for the governor to reconsider some of his tax policies, which were predicated on a supply-side theory of economics and championed by conservatives nationally. Kansas has repeatedly missed revenue collection targets, has seen its credit rating slashed and has cut funding for some government services during Mr. Brownback’s tenure.
“It was schools, it was roads, it was the fact that some communities were hoping for job growth that didn’t happen,” said Chapman Rackaway, a political science professor at Fort Hays State University who called Tuesday’s results a “repudiation” of Mr. Brownback’s policies.
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Tuesday’s vote highlighted a longstanding split in the state party between conservatives and a moderate bloc that sometimes aligns with Democrats. Patrick R. Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, said Tuesday’s results came from “Brownback’s unpopularity laid on top of that traditional divide.”
At least six conservative senators lost their primaries, political scientists and local news media said, along with five conservative House members. Three more conservative House members were trailing moderates in close races. Other moderate candidates won primaries in districts where the conservative incumbent did not seek another term.
Early voting is underway in Arizona’s primary right now. There are several legislative races in which Republican voters and so-called independent voters — if they ever bother to request a ballot and actually vote in the GOP primary — could begin to replace some of our lawless TeaPublican legislators with more moderate Republican candidates. It remains to be seen whether these mythical moderate Republican voters will actually turn out to vote in the GOP primary election.