Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't

Kansas Republicans in the Gov. Sam Brownback austerity era are so unpopular even the congressional GOP is losing.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) is projected to lose his GOP primary, making him the fourth House incumbent this cycle to be defeated in a primary.

Huelskamp, a House Freedom Caucus member who helped push out former Speaker John Boehner, was defeated by physician Roger Marshall in a primary for a safe Republican seat.

He now joins Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who all lost primaries this year. 
The race was close after polls closed, and Huelskamp's campaign asked the media to leave its watch party in Hutchinson, Kan., as it waited for results, according to The Associated Press. The AP called the race close to 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

Conservative groups that are typically allies found themselves on opposite sides of the Kansas primary fight. 
The Kansas Farm Bureau and Ending Spending Action Fund opposed Huelskamp for his vote against the farm bill. He was kicked off of the Agriculture and Budget committees in recent years for frequently bucking Boehner and establishment Republicans.

And Kansas voters finally got tired of his Tea Party stupidity and replaced him with Roger Marshall, a standard boilerplate corporate Republican instead, as voting against federal farm subsidies in a state like Kansas is too much for even the people who re-elected Brownback to take, apparently.

But the primary bloodbath wasn't limited to Hueslkamp's head being put on a pike.

A top Senate leader and at least 10 other conservative Kansas legislators have lost their seats as moderate Republicans made GOP primary races a referendum on education funding and the state's persistent budget woes. 
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce was among the lawmakers ousted amid a backlash against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies. 
The voting occurred against the backdrop not only of the state's fiscal woes but ongoing legal and political disputes over funding for public schools. The state Supreme Court could rule by the end of the year on whether the Legislature is shorting schools on their state aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since the GOP-dominated Legislature slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging to stimulate the economy. That's created concerns among educators about future spending on schools, even as many Republicans see the $4 billion-plus a year the state now spends as generous.

Bruce, from Nickerson, fell in his south-central Kansas district to Ed Berger, former president of Hutchinson Community College. 
Bruce was a particular target because of his visibility as the Senate's No. 2 leader. He also had disagreements with the Senate's top leader, President Susan Wagle, of Wichita. Bruce is closer to Brownback than Wagle is. 
"He seemed to care more about what the Brownback administration wanted rather than what the people he represented wanted," said Mary Dondlinger, an 80-year-old retired Hutchinson teacher and Republican who voted for Berger. 
Five other conservative senators lost in races that spanned the state. So did five conservative House members, all of them from affluent Kansas City-area suburbs in Johnson County, the state's most populous, where voters have cherished good public schools for decades.

Brownback is to Kansas what Trump is to national Republicans: an absolute disaster for the party.  Now the voters are speaking out, and hopefully starting the process of cleaning out the state's legislative pool filter.

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