TOPEKA, Kan. — Conservative Republicans who’ve been working to push GOP moderates out of state legislatures in a large section of the country have scored big victories in Kansas, where a state Senate that has been an obstacle to fiscal and social policy changes is likely to have a solid majority on the right next year.Here's to hoping they don't overstep*, but in the meantime, it's pretty fun to read the lamentations coming out of Lawrence** this morning. While I was hopeful that my state senator would be ousted, I did not expect his conservative opponent to win by 15%. In the last numbers I saw, of the 21 races where a conservative and a moderate faced off, the conservative was winning 17. Nine incumbent moderates were turned out including the Senate President, 2 retiring moderate incumbents were replaced by conservatives, and I did not see a single conservative incumbent defeated.
The great irony is that it is the moderate court system*** that enabled this thumping. As y'all know, this was redistricting year. But you might not know that the conservatives in the House and moderates in the Senate could not agree to maps, each side demanding a senate map that would either facilitate or hinder the promised conservative onslaught. The SecState sued the legislature and the court drew maps of such integrity and honesty that ten districts suddenly had two incumbents and in one, three incumbents were put in the same district. A corresponding number of districts were thrown wide open.
As the new district maps came down from on high literally three days before the primary filing deadline, and as only the conservatives had the farm team to throw candidates into every district, the right started off with an advantage that they leveraged into an absolute crushing of the moderate faction that had aligned itself with the Dems to hold power in the state senate. Buh-bye, rainmaking moderates.
* They will, as does anyone put in charge for the first time.
** "Taliban!" "Heading to Canada..." "They are closer to Nazis." "The sheep have lined up for the slaughter and won't know what hit them until it is too late." It's a gas, gas, gas.
*** A court system that will, most likely, endure a change in how its members are chosen. As of now, the state bar association has complete control over who the governor may appoint to the bench, resulting in moderate-to-liberal judges even as the state and legislature grew more conservative. I smell a constitutional amendment in the air...