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Candidate challenges current lawmakers

5/6/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

Another Republican is challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., in the party's Aug. 5 primary.

Kent Roth, Ellinwood, joins Alan LaPolice, Clyde, in opposing the representative from the First Congressional District. Roth represented Barton County in the Kansas Legislature from 1976 until 1982. Although he was elected as a Democrat because he did not want to contest a distant relative, Roth returned to the Republican party in 1992 and joined the Kansas delegation at the 1996 Republican National Convention.

The University of Kansas graduate is a lawyer for lease issues in the oil and gas industry. Earlier in his career, he visited Hays as an appeals referee for unemployment compensation proceedings.

Roth said he is campaigning because the incumbent played a role in the government's shutdown and a near default.

"I saw our current congressman, Tim Huelskamp, torpedo Speaker John Boehner's plan to compromise and open up the government which had been shut down for 16 days," Roth said.

Huelskamp did not grasp the consequences of a default, Roth said.

"I just had the feeling that Congressman Huelskamp didn't understand he was playing with fire, and that he could create a situation similar to the bank failures of 1929 and completely collapse the economy," he said.

Roth identifies with the moderate Republican state senators defeated in the 2012 election.

"I'm concerned with the tea party not only taking over control of the Kansas Republican Party, but trying to make it a small tent party, trying to exclude others and suppress the vote of groups that they don't agree with," he said.

The candidate would belong to the No Labels organization in Congress. One principle of the group states members of Congress should not be paid until they pass a budget.

Roth would support amending the Affordable Care Act to make the exchanges more efficient and cheaper.

Chapman Rackaway, political science professor at Fort Hays State University, said the candidate faces tough odds.

"They gravitate between slim and none," he said.

Funding and name recognition are among Roth's challenges, he said.

More information can be found at kentrothforkansas.wordpress.com.