Tag Archives: Jim Barnett

Kansas first Congressional district poll shows little change

KWCH Television in Wichita and SurveyUSA have released a poll of voter opinion of candidates for the Republican party nomination for United States Congress from the first district of Kansas. As was the case in the most recent poll, three candidates have broken away from the pack. The difference between the candidates is within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and as such, should be considered a statistical tie.

The poll, conducted July 10th through 12th, shows physician and Kansas Senator Jim Barnett of Emporia with 25 percent of the vote, if the election were held today. Salina businessman Tracey Mann ties Barnett with 25 percent, and farmer and Kansas Senator Tim Huelskamp of Fowler has 22 percent of the vote.

Each of these candidates has increased their percentage of the vote from the last poll.

Other candidates in this race are Rob Wasinger with 10 percent; Sue Boldra with five percent, and Marck Cobb with two percent. 12 percent are undecided.

The Republican candidates for this nomination and their campaign websites are physician and Kansas Senator Jim Barnett of Emporia, educator Sue Boldra of Hays, attorney and mediator Marck Cobb of Galva, farmer and Kansas Senator Tim Huelskamp of Fowler, Salina commercial real estate executive Tracey Mann, and Senator Brownback chief of staff Rob Wasinger of Cottonwood Falls. The primary election is August 3rd.

Kansas Senate voting records for Barnett and Huelskamp

Of the candidates seeking the Republican party nomination for United States Congress from the first district of Kansas, two have extensive voting records based on their service in the Kansas Senate. Both candidates — farmer and Kansas Senator Tim Huelskamp of Fowler and physician and Kansas Senator Jim Barnett of Emporia — promote themselves as conservatives.

The Kansas Taxpayers Network, and now the Kansas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, produce legislative scorecards that track legislators’ votes and produce ratings. Legislators who vote for fiscally conservative positions will produce high scores on these tabulations. The accompanying chart shows these two senators’ ratings since they started service, in 1997 for Huelskamp and 2001 for Barnett.

Kansas Senate vote ratings for Jim Barnett and Tim HuelskampKansas Senate vote ratings for Jim Barnett and Tim Huelskamp

In another legislative scorecard, the Kansas Economic Freedom Index for this year, Barnett scored 69%, tying for 13th place among the 40 senators. Huelskamp scored 87%, in a tie for second place. This is the first year for the Kansas Economic Freedom Index.

The other Republican candidates seeking this nomination are educator Sue Boldra of Hays, attorney and mediator Marck Cobb of Galva, Salina commercial real estate executive Tracey Mann, and Senator Brownback chief of staff Rob Wasinger of Cottonwood Falls.

In Kansas, Club for Growth PAC taps Pompeo, Huelskamp

The Club for Growth is a national organization that advances prosperity and economic growth by promoting economic freedom and limited government. Each year it ranks federal lawmakers on how well they follow these principles on its scorecards. (For a look at how current Kansas Congressman and Senate hopefuls Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran ranked on the scorecard, see Club for Growth gives slight nod to Tiahrt over Moran.)

The Club for Growth Political Action Committee (PAC) endorses candidates for the United States House of Representatives and Senate. According to communications director Mike Connolly, the PAC usually endorses from 12 to 20 candidates each election cycle, he said. This year the PAC has endorsed 13 candidates so far, including two in Kansas.

Connolly said the PAC endorses candidates who share a belief in principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual responsibility. It does not consider social issues when deciding which candidates to endorse.

The Club for Growth PAC does not make endorsements in all contests, Connolly said. It looks for candidates who it believes will be solid fiscal conservative leaders when they get to Congress. It also looks for contests where the PAC can have an impact. In districts where no candidates are in step with the Club for Growth’s principles, it makes no endorsement. With 55,000 members across the country, limited government conservatives view a Club for Growth PAC endorsement as a reliable stamp of approval, Connolly added.

In Kansas, with three open House seats and one open Senate seat, the Club for Growth PAC has made two endorsements. It is possible that the PAC could make other endorsements in Kansas — both the third House district in northeast Kansas and the United States Senate campaigns are vigorously contested — but as the August primary nears, that becomes less likely.

In the race for Republican Party nomination for United States Congress from the first district of Kansas, the Club for Growth PAC endorsed farmer and Kansas Senator Tim Huelskamp of Fowler.

David Ray, the Huelskamp campaign manager, said that Huelskamp’s record on fiscal issues like spending and taxes that are important to the Club for Growth PAC is “absolutely stellar.” He also said that a reason the PAC endorsed Huelskamp is that one of his opponents, physician and Kansas Senator Jim Barnett of Emporia, has not upheld principles of fiscal responsibility. It is not known whether Barnett sought the PAC’s endorsement.

In the fourth district of Kansas, centered around the Wichita metropolitan area, the Club for Growth PAC endorsed Wichita businessman Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo said that he viewed the Club for Growth PAC’s endorsement as a “good housekeeping seal of approval” for candidates who are committed to limited government, less regulation, and growing economies by getting government out of the way.

Pompeo said he participated in an interview and that the PAC investigates the backgrounds of candidates thoroughly. He also said that he’s one of the few candidates endorsed by the PAC without a voting record, the usual benchmark for making endorsements. He said that his experience and commitment to the principles of the Club for Growth PAC earned the endorsement.

He also said that Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, the leading contender besides Pompeo, sought the Club for Growth PAC endorsement.

At the Club for Growth PAC website, you may read its endorsements of Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo. The Barnett and Hartman campaign offices did not return telephone calls requesting comment for this story.

Update: Scott Paradise, the Hartman campaign manager, said that Hartman met with the Club for Growth PAC, but did not seek its endorsement. Paradise characterized the Club for Growth PAC as a special interest group, saying the Hartman campaign decided not to seek contributions from such groups. The Club for Growth believes it works to advance prosperity and opportunity for everyone equally through economic freedom and personal liberty.

Emporia’s Jim Barnett will run for Congress

Jim Barnett, a physician and Republican member of the Kansas Senate from Emporia, will join the field seeking the nomination for United States Congress from the first district of Kansas.

Barnett ran for Kansas governor in 2006 against Kathleen Sebelius. His running mate was Kansas Senator Susan Wagle of Wichita.

But when Wagle — a proven fiscal conservative — ran for president of the Kansas Senate, Barnett did not support her. In fact, sources say he encouraged others to vote against her.

So instead of a proven fiscal conservative leading the Senate, Kansas was stuck with the continued tenure of moderate Republicans: Senate President Stephen Morris, Vice President John Vratl, and Majority Leader Derek Schmidt.

This was particularly unfortunate for Kansas as this was a tough budget year. The Kansas House ended up simply concurring with the budget that the Senate produced — a budget that we now know had mistakes and omissions. Already the governor is forced to make spending decisions that should be made by the legislature.

Barnett’s lifetime rating from the Kansas Taxpayer Network’s legislative rankings is poor, meaning that he has been inclined to vote for increased taxation and spending. His message in today’s Emporia Gazette story was different, however, citing his “history of fiscal responsibility.”

He also said that “There is no doubt that government has gotten too big” and that “we need someone who’s fiscally responsible.”

Too bad he doesn’t believe that as a member of the Kansas Senate. He could have backed up his words with action.

The next four years

The Next Four Years
By Karl Peterjohn

The gubernatorial race in Kansas is generating fewer negative ads statewide than a single Wichita area race for the Kansas House of Representatives. If this crude barometer of political sentiment is correct, Kathleen Sebelius will easily be reelected governor November 7.

For political prognosticators in the mainstream Kansas press this is as much a certainty as criticism of President Bush leading the nightly news or Senator Kerry sticking his foot in his mouth. A second term for Governor Sebelius is going to impact Kansans and for many of them it will be an expensive experience.

Governor Sebelius is already calling for increases in excise taxes. More tax hike proposals will appear after November 7. What will be interesting is seeing if the next Kansas legislature will finally be ready to pass the property, income, sales, and excise tax hikes she unsuccessfully sought during her first term. When Bill Graves was governor he got his tax hikes passed during his second term in office. Second terms have had a history of being rather ugly with both the Graves and Carlin precedents as a warning to any second term Kansas governor.

The governor’s tax and spending programs may rest on her success in getting like minded legislators elected November 7. Former Republican turned Democrat Cindy Neighbor is running for the legislature against conservative Republican Mary Pilcher Cook. A Neighbor victory will be a significant step towards raising Kansas taxes. The governor’s coattails for down ticket legislative races will be an important factor in determining the reception the governor’s next tax and spend proposal will receive at the statehouse.

The next Kansas budget covering all funds will top $12 billion. It took some budgetary sleight-of-hand to keep it under $12 billion this year. If spending growth expands in Governor Sebelius’ second term as fast as it did during her first, expect the spending to grow above $14 billion. If the judicially active Kansas Supreme Court continues to budget state spending, the growth could easily double and raise total spending over $16 billion.

More spending by lawsuit will become a common part of the Kansas governmental scene as the legislature becomes an increasingly secondary factor in setting state spending priorities. The next school finance lawsuit is going to be a factor in state spending during the next four years. Lawsuits directing other parts of the state budget will continue to be major events impacting Kansas government finances too.

Government job growth will be an increasingly important factor in Kansas. The school finance studies beginning with Augenblick and Myers indicate that the solution for improving Kansas public schools is more school employees. Despite the stagnant number of students, the solution is to expand the schools. Since some schools, like Wichita, already had 8,587 employees last year for fewer than 49,000 students, so lowering an already low six students per employee ratio seems unlikely to improve educational achievement. Costs will soar as will the taxes needed to pay for this profligacy.

Governor Sebelius is already proposing higher excise taxes to finance expanded Hillary-style state health care programs. In addition, Medicaid costs that require a state payment for 40 percent of the costs are growing rapidly with annual increases exceeding $100 million.

During their last Topeka debate Governor Sebelius and Senator Barnett were both asked what they would do if the state received a fiscal windfall. Senator Barnett cited his proposal to cut state taxes and said he would return the windfall to taxpayers. Governor Sebelius said she would increase state spending for school children.

Government will grow during the next four years regardless of who is elected. However, the size and rate will vary dramatically. Governor Sebelius’ reelection guarantees that Kansas government spending will soar. Economic growth will not be able to keep up with spending. Kansans need to get ready for some major “revenue enhancements,” to help Governor Sebelius fulfill her spending schemes.