Boys, remember when your father told you to “think twice” before you speak on a first date?
Girls, remember when your mother told you that you can tell a lot about a boy on a first date by quick responses to questions — that those quick retorts are really what the guy thinks?
Who would ever think that those teenager tips from parents would turn out to be important or not when you’re voting for a governor?
We’ll likely see how that advice turns out in the governor’s race, whether an ill-considered slap at “tired has-beens clinging to the part pretending to be Republicans when they so clearly left the party a long time ago…” will split the Republican vote.
That remark came from Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s campaign spokeswoman last week after former U.S. Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., endorsed Democrat Sen. Laura Kelly for governor.
The split: A longtime respected Republican from back in the “old days” when there was more governing and less political sloganeering in campaigns, and today, when there appears to be more catch-phrase and sloganeering in political races.
Now, this might just turn out to be an issue where Democrats can hold the coats of Republicans of all ages while they fight it out under the sheets for just who Republicans want running Kansas, who they want running their political party.
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There are still some of those Republican “has-been” voters out there who remember back to 1978 — yes, 40 years ago — when they elected the first-ever woman U.S. senator to a full Senate term and didn’t just fill out the remainder of the term of her husband.
That was a pretty progressive move for Kansas Republicans who can remember the days when cars had bench seats and an FM radio was an extra-cost option on a new car.
Democrats last week just fired back that the “has been” remark was impolite and inferred that even though it was a fight within the Republican party, it wasn’t respectful.
How would you like to campaign against a candidate who had insulted many members of his own political party, a party that once had elected Kobach to the state party chairmanship? Probably not a bad deal…
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The whole concept of cross-party endorsements is relatively new to Kansas. It was the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle when a few former GOP leaders endorsed a Democrat for governor. It didn’t work, and Gov. Sam Brownback was elected to a second term in office.
But the effect of that intra-party jab might show up in a gubernatorial election this year. And Kassebaum joined the list of other former Republican leaders who are endorsing Kelly.
Of course, there are a lot of other issues besides endorsements that are in play in the gubernatorial election. And many are relatively party-line issues, ranging from welfare and Medicaid to school and highway finance and tax policy.
There’s the chance that the “has been” voters will just put aside that intra-party jab as an ill-considered remark from youngsters.
Key is that no party has “extra” voters that they can lose through an off-hand remark.
The numbers, remember, are that in Kansas there are about 796,000 registered Republicans, 436,000 registered Democrats, 558,000 unaffiliated voters…oh yes, and 16,800 Libertarians.
Not sure how many Republican votes that Kobach can afford to lose or whether the remark gets him unaffiliated votes. Or whether there are young Democrats out there who aren’t sure why a Republican would support a “real” Democrat.
This is another one to see how it comes out.
Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report.