Monday, January 4, 2010

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While we will continue to post here, we wanted to let you know is featuring a weekly Kaw & Border column each Monday. Here is a link to our last post, "Could Johnson County Experience a Conservative Wave in 2010?" Below is the content:

Could Johnson County Experience a Conservative Wave in 2010?
That's the question conservative activists, potential candidates, and political analysts should be asking in Johnson County as we enter 2010. With Sam Brownback virtually unopposed for Governor, and the winner of the Moran-Tiahrt primary virtually unopposed for the U.S Senate, Kris Kobach likely to be the Sec of State nominee, and with conservative candidates relatively likely to emerge in all three Congressional open races, and no major Democrat on the ballot with any name ID, Republicans stand to return Kansas to it's solid red-state status from the annoying shade of purple it had through the 90's due to people like Kathleen Sebelius, Mark Parkinson, Paul Morrison, Dennis Moore, Nancy Boyda, and the like.

At lower levels, the Democrats only made modest gains, but one area they made progress was in Johnson County. From 1995-1996, there were no Democratic seats in the Kansas House or Senate in JoCo. For years, there was one -- Sue Storm in District 22. Now there are six. In fact, if you break down the 22 House Reps, this is how they could be ideogically aligned:
8 Conservatives2 "Republicans"6 RINO's6 Democrats

With 2010 looking to be such a strong year nationally and statewide for the GOP, that trend could easily find itself in Johnson County as well. The question will be whether Democrats are ousted by RINO's or conservatives, and whether any open seats are taken over by RINO's or conservatives as well.

The trend as of now favors conservatives. Within the last few weeks, several credible conservative Republicans have emerged to run for seats that are currently held by Democrats.
Let's start off with three pick offs that are more than likely to occur:

- John Rubin, in District 18, has announced he's running against Cindy Neighbor, whom he narrowly lost to in 2008, a strong Democratic year. Look for a Rubin victory here. More about Rubin can be found at

- Amanda Grosserode, in District 16, has announced she's running against Gene Rardin, who has narrowly won the last two elections. I would hate to be Gene Rardin, as Grosserode, a leader in the tea party movement and extremely well organized, will walk circles around Rardin. More can be found out about Amanda at

- Brett Hildabrand, in District 23, has announced he's running against Milack Talia, who defeated August Bogina in 2008. Hildabrand is a strong, liberty-based, pro-life conservative who will campaign hard for this district. More about Brett can be found out at

The theme in the above three seats is they all have been held by conservative Republicans before. District 18 ist he former home of Senator Mary Pilcher Cook and Phill Kline. District 16 is the former home of Karen Divita and Tim Carmody. District 23 was represented by Cliff Franklin and Judy Morrison.

Victories by these three individuals in these seats -- which is expected if 2010 trend continues -- would bump up the number of solid conservatives from 8 to 11 and lower the number of Democrats down from 6 to 3.

In addition, conservative Greg Smith has filed to run against RINO-turned-Democrat Lisa Benlon in District 22, the hardest seat for Republicans to capture in Johnson County . Greg Smith, well known due to the tragic murder of their daugther, Kelsey, is a strong candidate and will present a strong challenge to Benlon.

There are also a number of other opportunities for conservatives:

- Jill Quigley, a RINO from District 17, has not yet been challenged in this competitive district for conservatives. Should conservatives find a candidate willing to work hard ala Grosserode, Rubin, Smith, or Hildabrand, Quigley will be in for a fight.

- Delores Furtado, a RINO-turned-Democrat from District 19, is extremely liberal and should have been defeated last time. There is some indication James Walker, who narrowly lost the GOP Primary in 2008 to eventual general election loser John Skubal, is going to run again and if true, conservatives would be wise to get behind Walker in this very winnable-yet-rarely-tried seat for conservatives.

- In District 25, RINO Terrie Huntington has vacated the seat due to her victory in the special precinct election to fill the next year of David Wysong's four year Senate term. (Huntington will have to run for a special two year term in 2010). That means her seat, which will be filled by a precinct election as well, will be virtually open in 2010 and could be taken by a conservative who is willing to knock on every door.

- In District 20, mod/conservative fence sitter Kevin Yoder is running for Congress. This north-south running district has a number of conservatives in it, and conservatives have had a number of cracks at it, including one against Gerry Ray in 2000, and twice against Yoder in 2002 and 04 before Yoder started to drift right. One wonders if in this open seat, if conservatives might stand a chance in the conservative-leaning year of 2010.

- In our view, conservatives should also not be afraid to challenge RINO's Kay Wolf, Sheryl Spalding, and Ron Worley in primaries. None of had truly serious primary challenges, and all are in territory where conservatives have done well. In District 29, conservatives Dennis Wilson, Patricia Lightner, and Patricia Kilpatrick held the seat before handing it to Spalding in 2006. In District 21, conservative-leaning Dean Newton held the seat comfortably before retiring a few years back mid-term. In District 30, conservative Kay O'Connor and conservative-leaning Julia Lynn performed well in the district in their Senate races. With tea party-inspired candidates emerging, all of these figures would be wise to watch their political backs in 2010.

Moral of this story? With solid conservatives Siegfreid, Kinzer, Brown, Donohoe, Kiegerl, Merrick, Schwab, and Olson all planning to run again, their seats are safe. With solid conservatives already running in 5 seats, and with seats being vacated (Yoder and Huntington), 2010 is slowly emerging as a year conservatives can make significant gains in Johnson County. Any conservative who is interested in running and lives in an available seat would be wise to seriously consider running in 2010. There is likely not to be a better year for conservatives anytime soon, particularly in a very politically-fickle area like Johnson County (demonstrated by the 8-2-6-6 split mentioned above).