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SPOTLIGHT
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Post-primary, GOP ready to fall in line

Published on -8/14/2012, 10:20 AM

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Many Kansans are happy with the conservative slant that the Kansas Senate has apparently taken based on the outcome of last week's primary elections.

Many Kansans are chagrined at the conservative slant the Kansas Senate has apparently taken based on the outcome of last week's primary elections.

And, postal carriers are thrilled that the flood of mailings has stopped for at least a couple months. Householders will suddenly have new space on their kitchen counters now that the political postcards blizzard is over.

But for insiders at the Statehouse, there are very important things to watch in the next few months -- before the new senators take their oath of office.

First will be whether after the general election -- or even after the official state canvass board certifies the results of the primary election in districts without a major party opponent -- incumbents who have been ousted will resign their offices early. That gives their successors a dab of seniority and a chance to buy into the KPERS retirement system and health insurance program early. We're guessing that ousted moderates aren't going to be thrilled to give their successors that leg-up on starting business.

Second will be the subtle but necessary cleaving of the new conservatives who have defeated politically/socially/fiscally moderate opponents from allegiance to the conservative political action committees that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars getting them elected.

What's that all about? Well, at some point, though the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other conservative political action committees have gotten their favored candidate through the primary election, Gov. Sam Brownback is the conservative Republican leader of the state and for his purposes those new members need to have primary allegiance to him.

Brownback and the conservatives who helped finance what they hope will be a dramatic change in the political lean of the Senate will be on many issues next session on the same side. But it is important for a governor to be able to call the tune, and be the leader in new policy direction. Not political action committees.

And, of course, Kansas Democrats are hoping that none of the above becomes necessary.

They're preparing to welcome Republicans who voted for moderate candidates at the primary to join them and vote for the Democratic candidates on the November general election ballot.

That effort isn't going to be subtle at all. Count on it. And after all, this is Kansas, where even Democrats are relatively conservative compared to Democrats in, say, California or New York.

So, while many Kansans finally are clearing off their kitchen counters and yes, we know some of you are hoping a spouse doesn't decide the rediscovered countertops would look better if they were granite -- there's still political maneuvering to watch.

Unless, of course you just want to turn it off for a couple months and restart the political game in, say, mid-October.

Syndicated by Hawver News Co. of Topeka, Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report. To learn more about this statewide political news service, visit www.hawvernews.com.

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