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Friday, September 15, 2006

KS-02, KS-AG: What on Earth is Going on in Kansas?

Posted by James L.

So yesterday, SurveyUSA dropped a whole load of polls on statewide races in Kansas. Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius is performing very well, leading Republican Jim Barnett by 58-38. That's no surprise. Slightly more surprising are the polling results for the real statewide dogfight in Kansas this year: the battle for the Attorney General's office (likely voters):

Paul Morrison (D): 48
Phill Kline (R-Inc.): 51
MoE: ±4.1%

Paul Morrison was the Republican District Attorney of Johnson County (Kansas' most populous county with over 506,000 residents), who switched his party affiliation to Democrat last year and filed to run against Kline shortly thereafter, part of an emerging narrative in Kansas politics under Sebelius' deft stewardship. I haven't been following the dynamics of this race other than Kline's relentless anti-abortion related legal activity while in office. Needless to say, it seems that Kline's extreme conservative tack and Morrison's profile have put this race in play for Kansas Democrats. For comparison's sake, the other statewide Republican incumbents facing re-election battles this year (Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner, and Treasurer) are all at or above 60%. I'm just thinking out loud here, but it's important to build up the Democratic bench in states like Kansas (and I will dismiss any arguments that converting moderate Republicans to the Democrats in Kansas is a bad thing), because, who knows, someday we could see Paul Morrison, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, or Governor. I'm thinking a few moves ahead here.

Even more surprising, though, is this internal poll on the congressional race in KS-02 (likely voters):

Nancy Boyda (D): 42.5
Jim Ryun (R-Inc.): 41.2
Undecided: 16.2
MoE: ±4.6%

Here's the context:

Boyda said the only reason she was revealing the data was that on Thursday a front page story in the Kansas City Star downplayed her chances against Ryun because she was receiving little attention from the national Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.


But Ryun’s spokesman Black dismissed Boyda’s poll claims.

“If any legitimate, scientific polling firm found these results, the national Democrats would not have written off this race as reported by the Kansas City Star on Sept. 14,” he said.

State Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the polling company Infomark Research has a reputation for accuracy, and cited several instances of how it predicted winners in close races.

“This is a winnable race for Nancy Boyda,” Hensley said.

I don't know anything about Informark Research, although they look legit after a cursory glance. But what the heck is going on in this race that could lead to it being a statistical tie? Nancy Boyda was the 2004 nominee in this district, and lost pretty decisively, 56-41, to Jim Ryun (fairing only slightly better than John Kerry did in the district, who lost by a 59-39 margin). So why on Earth should this district be more competitive this cycle? Ryun's record in the House is fairly analogous to Kline's record as AG--that is, extremely conservative. Could we really be seeing the results of this much-hyped intra-party rift between all-or-nothing social conservatives and more moderate Republicans in Kansas at play in KS-02 and elsewhere in the state, scoring some gains up and down the ballot for Democrats this cycle? Time will tell.

Posted at 05:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - State, Kansas | Technorati

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55R/32D/13I seems to be a pretty odd sample for Kansas.

The 2004 exit poll was 50R/27D/23I.

I'm thinking that this election isn't going to have such a partisan break in Kansas.

Maybe 47R/32D/21I works for this election.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 07:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

How apro pos. Earlier this week I chatted with a long time and politically active friend who lives in this district. The conversation began with him extolling how the political climate in Kansas was improving, citing the rightwing's loss in State Board of Education races and then extolling the possibility that Boyda may be successful this year. At first I chalked it up to over optimism, now seeing this poll..hmmmm.. Maybe he was not exaggerating the chances of toppling Mr. Rightwing-Anti Abortion leader,Ryun.
I think there may be alot of good surprises this year, we've already seen a fairly strong anti-incumbent mood, starting with a special election for a State Senate seat in PA, in which a Dem took a seat that had been long held by the gopee. I beleive that the recent NY Primary produced the most losses (on both sides) for legislative incumbents in recent history, and we had a nice close call (internally) in MD-04 by Donna Edwards. This pervasive anti-incumbent/officeholder mood does not bode well for the gopee come November.

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 09:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I have quite a bit of perspective on Kansas politics and some on Nancy PALMER BOYDA (I know her father Sam PALMER, her mother passed away a couple years ago). Nancy is a distant cousin of mine, both my parents were born in Kansas, and I have more relatives in that state than any other.

First the AG race.

Phil KLINE is likely the most activist Social Conservative Attorney General in the nation. He has run the office determined to quash abortion rights, and to harass those seeking, or who have had, abortions. KLINE attempted to force Hospitals to turn over the medical records of every single minor who has had an abortion in the state of Kansas. The intent was to prosecute every single father for sexual relations with a minor, in theory. His efforts were forestalled by legal actions arguing privacy rights, forcing him to cease & desist, but it endeared him to the religious right while horrifying nearly everyone else. At the same time KLINE is obsessed with attacking the gay & lesbian community in Kansas. He is also the AG who prosecuted a 19 year old male for an oral sex act with his 17 year old boyfriend. The 19 year old was sentenced to something like 7 to 10 years in jail for the act (forget exact # too lazy to look it up now). KLEIN thought he got off easy and vigorously fought appeals to get the poor (then) 19 year old out of the state penitentiary based on time already served.

Jim RYUN is also closely aligned with the religious right and essentially shares the perspective and politics of Phil KLINE. Plus, Jim RYUN is a wingnut loose cannon when is comes to verbalizing his extremist interpretations of Christianity, and has shot himself in the foot several times, including the past two years.

Kansas has essentially developed into a three party state. The Democrats, the social conservative Republicans, and what I call the Nancy LANDON KASSEBAUM wing of the Republican party whose nominal leader these days is former GOP Gov. Bill GRAVES (who was denied a delegate seat at the 2000 GOP convention by the social conservatives who viewed him as too liberal to allow a delegate slot, when was the last time you heard of a Governor being denied a delegate slot at a national party convention?). The two wings of the Kansas GOP are in complete Civil War at the moment. The social conservative wing has tended to have the upper hand the last 10ish years which has driven many in the GOP into the Democrats welcoming arms. The recent GOP primaries for State Board of Education, which centered around the issue of Evolution v. Creationism illustrates the divide quite nicely. The creationists got routed in Board of Education GOP primaries earlier this year. The reason is the KASSEBAUM wing of the GOP has energized to take back their party from the wingnuts. Kansas may have a GOP history, but it is only the last 10ish years that the hard right has surfaced in the state. The election of Sam BROWNBACK to the US Senate heralded the arrival of the wingnut ascendancy in the Kansas GOP. Nancy KASSEBAUM & Bob DOLE were not winguts, whatever else one may think of their voting records.

My Aunt & cousin are lifelong GOP and about the only way they would vote for Phil KLEIN is if Osama Bin Laden ran against him. KLIEN has energized the female vote in Kansas to oppose him, trust me. If you were to delve into those polls you would see support for KLEIN is much stronger amongst male Republicans than female Republicans. KLEIN almost single handedly created a large and still growing gender gap in one of the most Republican states in the land. The hospital records flap had an impact on Kansas similar to what the SCHAIVO issue was nationally. Religious extremists love KLIEN, but nearly every one else hates the man at this point.

Plus KLEIN recently had to return campaign donations received from the Westboro Baptist Fred PHELPS klan (the lunatics who protested at Virginia CLINTONs funeral, and who regularly show up at Iraq veterans funerals claiming they deserved to die for somehow supporting the "homosexual agenda" (it is irrational trust me).

If the Democrats can break out of their we cannot win in Kansas mentality, KS-2 is very winnable in 2006 and I urge the netroots community to throw in with Nancy PALMER BOYDA before our window of opportunity closes. KS-2 is exactly the type of district that may flop parties in a nationalized election year.

Go Nancy GO!

Posted by: walja [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2006 07:26 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Since I posted this Sam put me in touch with his daughter KS-2 Democratic nominee Kathy BOYDA and she has expressed interest in developing net based fund raising (groups such as the ActBlue list). If anyone has links to such groups that I could pass on to her campaign I would be delighted to help Kathy BOYDA get in contact with them.

Jim RYUN is a true buffoon. And he is showing signs of rusty campaign skills and foot in mouth disease. If KS-2 is ever going to swing 2006 is the year. RYUN is not above 50% in the polls people. But RYUN does have boatloads of cash. He can be taken down if only we can get Kathy the resources she needs. Let's not miss a possible takeover in a nationalized election year becasue people assume the past defines the present. Kansas politics are in flux and shame on us if we lose for the lack of tying.

It is time to swing KS-2 to the blue side people.

Posted by: walja [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2006 04:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

We ought to remember that Kline barely eked out a victory last time around. I don't have the stats handy, but I think it was down to a few hundred votes. He's beatable, and I hope to see an uptick in Morrison's numbers.

Posted by: scratchtasia [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2006 02:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kansas - 2002 Attorney General:
Phil Kline-R - 412, 697 - 50.026%
Chris Biggs-D 408,410 - 49.974%

Yup, I'd say that was close, good memory catch!
here's a link to KANSAS State Election Results:
And they even have Precinct level results on-line in 2 formats!

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2006 07:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's like watching the Prague Spring reach Kansas!

But I won't be satisfied about the Kansas State Board of Education unless we can retire at least one of the two anti-science incumbents who still face a challenger in the November general elections.

The primaries made a good start, but these folks serve a 4-year term, so let's try for at least one more science-friendly Board member, this cycle.

Links to the websites of the two pro-science Democrats can be found in this thread over at the big organge blog:


Posted by: Christopher Walker [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 19, 2006 09:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Nancy Boyda has a good shot at winning this thing but she needs $s. Ryun has a typical Republican fat cat war chest. Nancy's money is from small contributions. I'm not rich but I contributed $250 last month. I'm a little tight this month but I sent her another $100. You can put a contribution to her on your credit card at her website. I urge you to do so!

Posted by: KU Doug [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2006 05:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment