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2012 ElectionOpinionPolitics

Something Very Big Happened in Kansas & Why it Matters to the Nation

Upon arriving home after spending six days with the family in Washington D.C., I have been looking feverishly at the results of the state’s primary elections. As of today, some votes are still being counted but the overall results are very clear: residents of the state clearly rejected Republicans en masse. Republican moderates and liberals, that is.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Kansas political landscape, let me bring you up to speed. On a national map, Kansas is about as red as it gets, but red has not necessarily meant conservative. For many years, although controlled heavily by the GOP (for example 32 of 40 Senate seats), Kansas has failed to be a leader for conservative politics. When people ask me about politics in Kansas, I tell them about our three parties, the Democrats, the liberal Republicans, and the conservative Republicans. Here are a few examples:

Before becoming President Obama’s HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius (D) was our Governor for eight years. During her reign, Kansas was one of the nation’s leaders of third trimester abortions. Her running mate, Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson was formerly the state’s GOP chairman before switching parties and officially becoming a Democrat. Our current Governor, Sam Brownback (R) is the first conservative in the Governor’s office in my lifetime of nearly 44 years. Need I say more?

High on the hit list for conservatives were “Republican” Senators Steve Morris and Tim Owens. Morris has been the President of the State Senate since 2004 where he blocked many important pieces of conservative legislation. Owens was most recently in charge of the state’s redistricting debacle, costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in his failed attempt to protect moderate (read: liberal) Republicans, which had to be settled by the courts. I could go on, but the point is clear: Moderates and liberals have been ruling the roost for many years.

This all changed yesterday. Both Morris and Owens lost to their conservative primary opponents as did many of their cohorts. Yes, the candidates face the voters again in the fall general election, but it is fairly safe to assume that most voters in the state will choose the “R” candidate over the “D,” which is why yesterday’s primary was vital.

What does this mean to the nation? Look for Kansas to potentially become the next Wisconsin as conservatives engage in major policy reforms like state employee pension reform, tax reforms and social reforms. The Left funneled tens of thousands of dollars into individual races which came primarily from labor and teachers unions which have much to lose.

On the Right were groups like Americans for Prosperity-Kansas, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansans for Life, and the Kansas State Rifle Association to name a few. Despite the media maligning these groups on a regular basis, they prevailed with a huge grassroots effort coupled with new and old media approaches. The voters ousted several incumbents by significant margins, some by well over 20 percent. Finally, the candidates themselves waged major door-to-door ground-games where they engaged in old-fashioned campaigning and get out the vote efforts.

Politicians who think it is enough to have an “R” ahead of their name, yet govern left of center, should be worried, very worried. The electorate is figuring it out thanks to new sources of information besides the daily paper and the evening news. The Left and their cronies in the old media are reeling and that, my friends, is a good thing.

Look for great things coming from the Sunflower State in the years to come and stay tuned for a thrilling recap of the family trip to DC. You won’t want to miss it.

Steve Sheldon

Steve Sheldon is a lifelong outdoorsman, hunter, gun-rights enthusiast and widely published author. Steve spent a dozen years in private industry as an investment broker and owner of multiple businesses. He served the National Rifle Association almost ten years in various capacities before moving to Americans for Prosperity in his current role of External Affairs Officer. Steve has held various church leadership roles over the years and served in a jail ministry.

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