For Republican Kansas Representative Don Hineman of Dighton, party loyalty is a street that runs in only one direction: towards himself.
In 2008, Hineman challenged an incumbent Republican in Kansas House District 118. Hineman narrowly won the primary. The loser, Virginia Beamer, decided to mount a write-in campaign for the November general election. Hineman won, gathering 6,112 votes to Beamer’s 2,716.
During the general election campaign, a well-known conservative political communications company worked on behalf of Beamer. Hineman complained, saying that this work violated the Kansas Republican party’s loyalty amendment. In an email, he wrote: “As the nominee of the party I had expected to have the support of party officials, regardless of whatever differences we may have over political philosophy.”
While I don’t agree with party loyalty oaths, this matter would be just a footnote — and not very interesting at that — if not for Hineman’s recent actions.
Now, just two years after insisting that a political communications firm cease working for his opponent based on party loyalty, Hineman is campaigning for a Democrat. Not just any Democrat, but former Republican consultant Rob McKnight, who defected to the Democratic Party in order to run for a Kansas House seat from Overland Park.
The party loyalty section of the Kansas Republican Party Constitution doesn’t apply to elected officials like Hineman. It didn’t apply to the situation in 2008 either, but that didn’t stop Hineman from complaining that “it certainly violates the spirit of that amendment.”
Hineman’s voting record in the Kansas House is that of a big-taxing and big-spending liberal. He voted for both the big-spending budget and for the statewide sales tax increase this year. He earned a rating of 19 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index for 2010, and 30 percent on AFP’s legislative scorecard for 2010. He’s also opposed to giving citizens the power of initiative and referendum in Kansas.
Here’s the email Hineman sent:
Dear Kansas City-area friends and family,
I am forwarding this email to introduce you to Rob McKnight. Rob is a very good friend, and has been my campaign advisor since I first ran for the Kansas House of Representatives in 2008. Evidently he thought I was having too much fun, because this year Rob is a candidate himself, after over twenty years as a campaign advisor to others. He is running to represent the 20th District in the Kansas House, and I would consider it a privilege to serve with Rob in Topeka.
I would ask you to consider helping Rob during his campaign. Please think about making a contribution to his campaign (see information below) or help him during one of his scheduled “literature drops”, the first of which takes place the tomorrow, Saturday, September 18. The attached flyer has more information. Please note this is not knocking on doors; it is merely a door-to-door literature drop. Participants will cover a large amount of territory in a short amount of time.
Rob thinks of everything. The drop is scheduled on a Saturday when the Kansas Jayhawks are idle, so no one need to be distracted by other events. Please consider helping Rob with this event tomorrow. Rob is very deserving, and I know he will be very grateful for your help.