Purchase photos

Candidates lining up to run against Huelskamp

12/12/2013

By MARY CLARKIN

Special to The Hays Daily News

HUTCHINSON -- The outspoken and independent streak U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., has displayed in Congress looms as a campaign issue in the August Republican primary.

Republican Alan LaPolice, a former school administrator in California who grew up on a Kansas farm, filed campaign documents recently with the Federal Election Commission. LaPolice has not filed candidacy papers, but intends to do so soon.

Kent Roth, a Republican attorney from Ellinwood, established an exploratory committee.

If someone of the stature of former Kansas Republican Gov. Bill Graves enters the Congressional race, Roth said, he will not run.

But Roth does not consider it likely Graves will run, and Roth thinks Huelskamp should be challenged. When Huelskamp ran for re-election in 2012, no Republican or Democrat opposed him.

LaPolice, 41, said he did not want to disparage any individual in Congress. However, he said, a 9-percent approval rating for Congress "is not what I consider successful governance or productive governance."

As a lawmaker, LaPolice said, he would use compromise as a tool to accomplish the goals of constituents.

"I believe one must be in the room to negotiate and must be willing to negotiate," the Clyde resident said.

LaPolice served in the Army and later worked as an actor, English school teacher and high school administrator in Los Angeles. In August, he returned to Kansas and helps his father on the farm. LaPolice and his wife have three daughters, ages 6, 3, and 6 months.

LaPolice does not think it's good enough to urge repeal of laws. Republicans should propose solutions, he said.

"I believe that if our politicians are accomplishing nothing and accusing others with the blame, then they too are to blame.

"Where I come from, if you can't do your job, you don't deserve to have it," LaPolice wrote on his campaign website, true-conservative.org

LaPolice favors a reduced federal role in education, a simplified tax code, and decentralized government oversight of health care.

Roth, 61, was a Democrat when he served six years in the Kansas Legislature during the 1970s and 1980s. He switched to the Republican Party in the 1990s and was part of the Kansas delegation to the 1996 Republican National Convention, where Sen. Bob Dole became the Republican presidential nominee.

Last year, Huelskamp, who has sparred with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was booted off the House Agriculture and Budget committees.

Roth said his first request would be an appointment to the ag committee.

Roth said in a letter addressed "Dear Voter" he "would not be considering a race for Congress if Tim Huelskamp was simply an embarrassment. I came to the conclusion during the government shutdown that Tim Huelskamp was a danger to the Republic."

Roth and his wife have two grown children.

Bryan Whitney, Wichita, filed in July to run in the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District. Wichita is not in the Big First, but candidates are not required to live in the district.