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SPOTLIGHT
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Kansas GOP offers a helping hand

Published on -9/5/2012, 10:20 AM

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Let those Kansas Republicans move off their native soil and into a national GOP setting and they start strutting their stuff.

That's about what happened at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last week where state party officials and even Gov. Sam Brownback sought to spread their power, authority and, oh yes, expectations of reciprocity from nearby "purple states" -- like Colorado.

Kansas is in a unique position right now. Republicans control all statewide offices and all congressional seats. Two of those four congressional seats -- the Johnson County-centric 3rd District and the western Kansas 1st (right next to Colorado) -- don't even have general election races.

That, State Party Chairwoman Amanda Adkins, Overland Park, told delegates at a Kansas breakfast meeting last week (see more on meals below), frees up a little Kansas campaign time to assist Republicans in Colorado.

Of course, we're imagining some place there will be a tally of stamps licked, emails sent, phone calls made that a successful GOP candidate in Colorado will be politely reminded of when it becomes important to Kansas interests.

As we recall, Colorado is on the uphill side of the Continental Divide, and Kansas water users would prefer that maximum amounts of Colorado rainfall and snowfall be allowed to slide our way.

Brownback -- who isn't going to be governor forever (cheers or boos as appropriate in your household) -- would love stockpiling some favors across state lines. He suggested that Kansans who vacation in Colorado might want to do a little campaigning there.

That's how one accumulates political capital on a national level and Brownback is a devoted political capitalist.

While Adkins, Brownback and other Kansas Republican leaders were talking about other states, Brownback also was cautious to remind delegates that interstate campaigning is only to be done after home state business is attended to.

That's making sure that the conservative Republicans who won virtually all open state Senate seats at the August primary are very safely gift-wrapped before being sent to Topeka in January.

* * *

Kansas delegates? They appeared to have a pretty good time at the national convention in Tampa. We're not certain, but it appears possible that some delegates and their guests could have spent their first dollar tipping the baggage handler at the airport -- which was near the Kansans' hotel -- and their second tipping that handler again when it was time to fly home.

Elected officials sponsored breakfasts. Receptions before and after convention sessions provided food and drink to sustain the delegates. No, special interest groups and businesses sponsoring those receptions weren't buying delegate votes, but they were doing nice things for constituents of political big dogs.

* * *

While the Kansas GOP flying or driving squads were setting their watches back to central time, Kansas Democrats are on the ground hundreds of miles north of Tampa, in Charlotte, N.C., where there also is no question of who will be the presidential nominee for that party.

It took a tropical storm to cut the GOP convention to three days, but Democrats had a couple months -- not hours -- to pare their national convention to three days in observance of Labor Day off.

Chances are slim that Kansas' six Electoral College votes are going to wind up in President Barack Obama's pocket. But Kansas Democrats can be supportive of the national ticket long-distance and use their time in the festive bubble of a national political convention to go back home and inspire others to support candidates -- in their case, Democrats.

Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report, a nonpartisan news service focusing on Kansas government and politics. For more information, visit www.hawvernews.com.

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