From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Martin Hawver, dean of the Kansas Statehouse press corps. This was recorded January 4, 2019.
Martin Hawver is the editor and publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report, the respected, non-partisan news service that reports on Kansas government and politics.
He also is the dean of the Kansas Statehouse press corps, having covered the beat (36 years) longer than any current Statehouse reporter — first for 17 years as a Statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal and since 1993 for Hawver’s Capitol Report. He is the primary reporter/writer for the news service. He also writes a column syndicated to Kansas newspapers, is interviewed about Kansas government and politics on TV and radio shows, and is a speaker for seminars and conventions.
Hawver has covered 36 Kansas legislative sessions and 14 national Republican and Democratic political conventions, plus countless statewide and local political conventions.
Hawver writes a weekly column called “At The Rail” that is syndicated to Kansas newspapers. He also turns out to be an entertaining, informative, and pretty well-known public speaker, and if your Kansas-based group is interested in political humor, government humor, or even just understanding the landscape in the ever-more-confusing world of politics, you might want to consider having Martin Hawver speak. (Source: Hawver’s Capitol Report)
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Representative Leo Delperdang joins Bob Weeks to discuss the recent election and the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature. View below or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 220, broadcast December 2, 2018.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Bob and Karl look at election results nationally, in Kansas, and in Sedgwick County. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 217, broadcast November 11, 2018.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Karl Peterjohn and Bob Weeks provide a preview of the congressional and gubernatorial election for the Wichita area in November 2018. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 216, broadcast November 4, 2018.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau explains the current problems with corruption in the county. Then, Renee Duxler tells us why she’s running for Sedgwick County Commission. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 215, broadcast October 28, 2018.
From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Republican candidates for the Kansas House of Representatives. Appearing, in initial speaking order, were:
- Steven Kelly, 72nd District (map of district)
- Cheryl Helmer, 79th District (map)
- J.C. Moore, 93rd District (map)
- Susan Humphries, 99th District (map)
This was recorded on October 19, 2018.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Republican candidate for Congress Representative Ron Estes explains why he should continue to be our representative in the United States House of Representatives. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 214, broadcast October 21, 2018.
Following, from Karl Peterjohn, an account of why the Wichita Pachyderm Club is a valuable civic institution. The candidate mentioned in the article is Renee Duxler, running for Sedgwick County Commission District 1 (map is here). On her Facebook page she wrote “Proving once again that Democrats and Republicans can share ideas and thoughtful discussion within the same spaces … this gal ‘infiltrated’ the Wichita Pachyderm Club for a great presentation by Kyle Bauer, of KFRM radio, on the history and future of agriculture here in Kansas. They were very gracious and welcoming, and I enjoyed the experience immensely. Let’s keep the conversations going Sedgwick County!” Of note: Her opponent, Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita), said he was “troubled” that the Pachyderm Club had a member who supported Duxler instead of him.
Political civility in our age of thuggery
By Karl Peterjohn
I want to protect the identity of the Democrat candidate who made the decision to attend the October 12 Pachyderm Club meeting in downtown Wichita. I am concerned that retribution from the leftist loons and Alinskyite thugs that inhabit the extremist, but increasingly mainstream wing of the Democrat Party could be substantial. This is not a partisan statement. A couple of days ago I saw an online report where a Pennsylvania Democrat was forced to resign his party position because of his pro-American beliefs.
While I was presiding as the substitute president, I had the task of introducing elected officials and during elections, candidates running for office. This is routine with anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen candidates in attendance as we were about four weeks away from an election.
I was informed that a Democrat candidate was attending this GOP meeting and I was asked to include her in the candidate introductions. In our current age where GOP members of Congress have been shot and assaulted by socialist and leftists (Steve Scalise and Rand Paul), where GOP offices from Manhattan to Wyoming have been vandalized this month, where GOP candidates in Minnesota have been physically attacked while campaigning, it would have been easy to decline this request. I considered doing this.
However, there should be civility in our public affairs, despite odious comments to the contrary from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, about civility being only for progressives, liberals, and leftists. Dare I say it, we increasingly live in a country and period of time where good political manners, are the exception and not the rule. Now the Pachyderm rules are clear, with all GOP candidates being endorsed for the general election ballot, but no position taken in contested primaries. The rule on public introductions is not clear, was left to the presiding officer, no matter how temporary he happens to be, at the podium.
When I got down to the Democrat candidate’s name I went ahead and introduced her to the Pachyderm Club members and guests. I did point out her party affiliation, and contrasted the Pachyderm’s polite treatment of this Democrat candidate with the vile statement from the Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder that violence, in the form of his admonition, “… kick them,” in attacking Republicans is increasingly the political standard today.
The Wichita Pachyderm Club has occasionally had democrats as speakers. I pointed this out. A prominent Wichita Democrat, Professor Mel Kahn, has spoken to Pachyderm and the informational speakers, whether they are talking about Plato, Alexander Hamilton, or at this meeting, agriculture in Kansas, do not have a partisan political subject. This speaker, KFRM radio’s Kyle Bauer, could have just as easily provided his excellent agriculture presentation to Democrats, Libertarians, or any other group of Kansans interested in this important part of our state’s economy (This is a free plug for Mr. Bauer who provided an exceptional agriculture presentation).
I believe that the Pachyderm Club provided an example of civility in the public policy arena. This is Kansas nice. Sadly, this is increasingly the exception in today’s toxic political climate where conservatives and Republican elected officials are harassed in public, harangued at restaurants, in office hallways, town hall meetings disrupted, and general nastiness under Representative Maxine Waters admonitions promoting thuggery are increasingly commonplace. I must admit, that in the past the Pachyderm Club has taken steps to make sure that disruptions, and disruptive behavior, did not occur from non-members who opposed a speaker at one of our meetings. How sad.
The Constitution of our country is the outline of how we govern ourselves. The states, and the localities and governmental bodies created by the states (like counties, cities, and school districts), are the public institutions we use to resolve public policy differences in our democratic republic. Our Constitution has been a model for the rest of the world since it was enacted in 1789. Other nations resolve their public policy differences by other ways, using other means. These often conflict with the liberty our Constitution and its amendments, tries to establish.
It has been said, that politics is a form of war by other means. We had one civil war, with over 600,000 killed and hundreds of thousands permanently injured, and that is a part of our nation’s history when our differences could not be resolved politically. Violence and thuggery should not be part of our future, but it is a present problem, and a growing threat to our republic.
I am glad that civility was alive and well at the Pachyderm Club on October 12. I hope that this becomes a model for other public meetings by other groups in the future. I am afraid that this political civility was an exception, but it does deserve public notice since the local news media was not in attendance.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Democratic Party candidate for Congress James Thompson explains why he should be our next representative in the United States House of Representatives. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 213, broadcast October 14, 2018.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Republican Party candidate for Kansas governor and current Secretary of State Kris Kobach joins Bob and Karl to explain why he should be our next governor. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 211, broadcast September 30, 2018.
- Campaign website: kriskobach.com
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Libertarian Party candidate for Kansas governor Jeff Caldwell joins Bob and Karl to explain why he should be our next governor. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 209, broadcast September 16, 2018.
- Campaign website: www.caldwellforkansas.com
From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Republican Candidates for Sedgwick County Commission. Appearing, in order of their initial appearance, were:
- Richard Ranzau, District 4.
- Pete Meitzner, District 1.
- Jim Howell, District 5.
This was recorded September 7, 2018.
- Election Day is Tuesday November 6, 2018. The last day to register to vote is October 16.
- In district 1, the candidates are Republican Pete Meitzner (campaign website peforsedgwickcounty.com) and Democrat Renee Duxler (www.reneeduxler.com). A map of the district is here.
- In district 4, the candidates are the Republican incumbent Richard Ranzau (www.voteranzau.org) and Democrat Lacey Cruse (www.laceycruse.com). A map of the district is here.
- In district 5, the candidates are the Republican incumbent Jim Howell (comhowell.com) and independent Jim Skelton (www.votejimskelton.com). A map of the district is here.
From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Kansas House of Representatives Candidates. These are Republican candidates appearing on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot. This was recorded on August 24, 2018.
Candidates were, in order of initial appearance:
- Blake Carpenter, 81st District
- Emil Bergquist, 91st District
- Leo Delperdang, 94th District
- Ron Howard, 98th District
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The end of a Sedgwick County Commission election, the Wichita Eagle editorializes on school spending and more taxes, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell seems misinformed on the Wichita economy. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 207, broadcast August 26, 2018.
- The Wichita Eagle reports there will be a recount: Ranzau and Nicks commission race headed to a recount as Ranzau clings to narrow lead.
- The Wichita Eagle reports on the result of the recount: (cue sound of crickets)
- Article: Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle: A recent editorial by the largest newspaper in Kansas misinforms its readers.
- Kansas Policy Institute.
- Article: Wichita Eagle calls for a responsible plan for higher taxes. A Wichita Eagle editorial argues for higher property taxes to help the city grow.
- Article: Wichita Eagle argues for higher taxes: The Wichita Eagle editorial board wants higher taxes. Relying on its data and arguments will lead citizens to misinformed and uninformed opinions.
- Article: The Wichita Mayor on employment: On a televised call-in show, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell is proud of the performance of the city in growing jobs.
In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Hosts Karl Peterjohn and Bob Weeks continue reporting on some of the results of the August 7, 2018 primary election in Kansas. View below, or click here to view on YouTube. Episode 206, broadcast August 19, 2018.
Since this episode was recorded, the Sedgwick County Commission District 4 Republican primary manual recount was completed. There were no discrepancies between the results reported after the canvass and the results from the recount. The result is Hugh Nicks 3,438 votes, and Richard Ranzau 3,513 votes.
A look at ranked-choice voting and how it might have worked in the Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary election in August 2018.
Most elections in America utilize plurality voting. Wikipedia explains: “Plurality voting is an electoral system in which each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls the most among their counterparts (a plurality) is elected. In a system based on single-member districts, it may be called first-past-the-post (FPTP), single-choice voting, simple plurality or relative/simple majority.” 1
Consider the recent primary election for the Republican party nomination for Kansas governor. It was close, with Governor Colyer at 40.513% of the vote and Secretary of State Kris Kobach at 40.622%. With 316,437 votes having been cast, the difference is like one vote out of every 372 votes cast.
In a close election like this, there is intense campaigning, not only among the candidates, but also among their supporters. If there are more than two candidates — there were seven in this contest — campaigning may consist of persuading voters that if you don’t vote for my candidate, you’re just throwing your vote away. Other strategic voting arguments may be made. There is, however, a way to let everyone vote for who they really like.
Simplify just a bit. Suppose there were three candidates: Jim Barnett, Jeff Colyer, and Kris Kobach. On the political landscape. Barnett is a (self-described, I believe) moderate. Kobach is far to the conservative spectrum. Colyer is somewhere between the two, at least according to Kobach supporters, as they regularly slam Colyer for not being conservative enough (whatever that means).
In the pre-election polls Barnett showed much less support than Colyer or Kobach. Also, conventional wisdom was that Barnett and Colyer are more like each other than either is like Kobach.
So, in a regular election, called a plurality election, how do voters decide? No doubt some voters prefer a specific candidate and would not consider voting for anyone else. Other voters may not be as committed, or are willing to express multiple preferences.
As an example, suppose the preferences of voters — the true preference in their heart of hearts, without any thought of strategic voting, just who they really want to be governor — looks like this:
Who wins this election, if every voter votes their true preference? Kobach.
But remember, Barnett and Colyer are more like each other than they are similar to Kobach. So Colyer supporters are likely to be thinking “Look, our candidate is so different from Kobach, what if just a few Barnett voters had voted for Colyer?” The answer to that question is if 20% (plus one) of the Barnett voters had voted for Colyer, Kobach would lose to Colyer.
This type of strategic voting is what the Colyer campaign recommended. A Colyer television ad advised ““A vote for [Jim Barnett or Ken Selzer] is essentially a vote for Kris Kobach, increasing his chance of victory” 2 Evidently, the Colyer campaign believed that the anti-Kobach vote is larger than the pro-Kobach vote, but is split between two candidates, with neither of them individually having more support than Kobach. (Ignore Ken Selzer for a moment, please.)
So what if you prefer Barnett and really dislike Kobach? Do you vote your true preference, or do you vote strategically to deny Kobach the victory? Will that strategy really work? Why can’t I vote for someone rather than against someone?
Your ballot instructions state “Select one candidate only.” But suppose the instructions were “Rank these candidates in order of preference, with 1 meaning most-preferred.” You might mark your ballot like this:
This voter is saying something like this: “I really like Jim Barnett, but if he doesn’t get a majority of votes, I prefer Jeff Colyer over Kris Kobach.”
This is ranked-choice voting. In the example above, if everyone votes their true preferences without strategic voting, 40% of voters would have marked Kobach as their first preference. But 40% is not a majority, so using ranked-choice voting, here’s what happens:
First, because Barnett has the lowest number of first preferences, he is eliminated from the contest.
Then, the counters look at Barnett voters’ second preferences, either Colyer or Kobach, and assign votes accordingly. In the example ballot above, the voter selected Colyer as his second preference. Therefore, that vote is transferred from Barnett to Colyer. If the voter had ranked Kobach second, the vote would be transferred to Kobach.
In this example, since there are just three candidates, after the Barnett votes are transferred to Colyer or Kobach, the vote-counting is over and there is a winner, or a tie. (If a contest has just two candidates, there is no need for ranked-choice voting, unless there is an alternative to vote for “none of the above.”)
Who would win in this example? If it true that Barnett is more like Colyer than Kobach, it is likely that Barnett voters mostly ranked Colyer as their second preference. So Colyer would have a majority, and wins.
The actual situation in the Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary was more complex, with seven candidates. But ranked-choice voting works the same, although it may take several rounds of counting to determine the winner.
The results of the Republican party primary are nearby. As you can see, the top four candidates received 97.8% of the vote. Were votes for candidates other than Colyer or Kobach wasted votes? What if those who voted for Barnett, Selzer, Kucera, Ruzich, or Tutera had been able to indicate their second preference?
In the Kansas primary there were other major contests with multiple candidates: House of Representatives District 2 for Republicans, House of Representatives District 3 for Democrats, and governor for Republicans and Democrats. Looking forward to the general election, there will be five candidates for governor, one each from the Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican parties, and two independents.
- Wikipedia. Plurality voting. Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plurality_voting. ↩
- Stephen Koranda. Colyer Ad Says Some Candidates Could Spoil Race for Kansas Governor. Available at http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/colyer-ad-says-some-candidates-could-spoil-race-kansas-governor. ↩