Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Opportunism not new to politcial scene

June 8, 2006

Last week, former state GOP chairman Mark Parkinson announced he was switching allegiance to the Democratic Party and a day later was chosen as the new running mate of Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Predictably, an e-mail quickly arrived at this desk -- and it can be assumed those at other newspapers around the state -- from a candidate claiming to be "the leading Republican contender" in the gubernatorial race, denouncing the move as opportunistic.

Although the charge ignores the state of the Kansas Republican Party, it is true to a degree. But so what? Did not "the leading Republican contender," largely unknown statewide except by those who closely follow the Kansas Legislature, get in the race because of an opportunistic void left when candidates with more name recognition such as Congressman Jerry Moran chose not to seek the governor's seat?

Opportunism is Johnson County State Sen. Kay O'Connor's decision to run for Kansas Secretary of State against a Republican opponent because she understands who goes to the polls on primary day.

Opportunism is expected of politicians and we shake our heads when it's not seized, such as Parkinson's decision not to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Congressman Dennis Moore in his vulnerable first re-election campaign.

Opportunism is playing the game of politics and its success is determined when voters weigh ambition against values. O'Connor is challenging Ron Thornburg because Republican conservatives have bested the party's moderates in those contests.

Should Parkinson and fellow Johnson County Republican turned Democrat and State Attorney General candidate Paul Morrison prove successful, expect others to emulate their opportunity for success.

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