Posts tagged with 2010 Elections

Candidates battle for open congressional seat in 3rd district

From left, Stephene Moore, Kevin Yoder and Jasmin Talbert are seeking election to the 3rd Congressional District seat in Kanass.

From left, Stephene Moore, Kevin Yoder and Jasmin Talbert are seeking election to the 3rd Congressional District seat in Kanass.

The state’s 3rd District U.S. House race has been a back-and-forth between two candidates who said they would be the best new fit to represent the district in Washington. Democrat Stephene Moore, of Lenexa, said her career as a nurse puts her in good position to go to Congress as an outsider.

“People are ready for someone to bring a fresh face to Congress, someone who has lived like they have and take that to Washington,” she said.

But Moore’s not exactly an unfamiliar face in the district. She is seeking to replace her retiring husband, Dennis Moore, who since 1999 has represented the district that includes Wyandotte and Johnson counties plus eastern Lawrence and Douglas County.

And her main opponent in the Nov. 2 election, Republican Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park attorney and state representative, said Stephene Moore favors too many policies that have made the current Congress unpopular.

“I think the answer is reducing spending and getting the economy growing again,” said Yoder, who served as the House Appropriations chairman in Topeka. “The politics coming out of Washington are doing exactly the opposite.”

At odds on policy

Differences between candidates on several issues have emerged, especially on tax policy.

Moore said the Bush tax cuts needed to be extended for 12 to 18 months due to the state of the economy.

“Making them permanent, I would hate to say that because we don’t have a crystal ball,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but right now raising taxes on anybody is not a good idea.”

Yoder favors making the tax cuts permanent.

“Raising income taxes for any segment of Americans right now, whether low income or high income, is not going to help the economy get going again,” Yoder said.

Yoder gained much attention in the last legislative session in Topeka when a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans eventually mustered enough votes to pass a sales tax increase instead of Yoder’s proposed budget.

Yoder had said the state needed to reduce spending, but supporters of the tax said schools and other services couldn’t afford more cuts.

Moore has criticized Yoder’s budget, saying it would have slashed $172 million in school funding and could have led to school districts raising local property taxes instead.

“The rest of the story is his own Republican legislators said that would have caused most likely a very massive personal property tax increase,” she said.

But Yoder said he favors local districts having more control to guard against school closings and teacher job cuts. He also said the state needs to reduce spending because the economy has not turned the corner.

“When I was put in a position of leadership in Topeka, I stood up and led,” he said. “They were tough decisions. They weren’t always popular decisions, but I think people are looking for a congressman who will go to Washington and lead and not just do whatever is politically popular.”

Yoder has criticized Moore’s support for certain legislation and at debates has frequently mentioned Moore’s name in the same sentence with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Yoder has particularly criticized Moore’s support for the cap-and-trade energy bill, saying it would end up costing local businesses.

“We have to get Washington out of the way,” Yoder said. “New penalties and burdens being placed on small business owners are making it very difficult.”

The bill passed the House but not the Senate. Moore said she would have supported cap-and-trade to get debate moving on the nation’s energy policy, particularly utilizing more of the state’s wind energy potential.

“It was a good opportunity to start the discussion and the planning on what we need to do, and it is about energy in our future,” Moore said.

Third candidate

Libertarian Jasmin Talbert is also on the ballot. Talbert is an Overland Park geophysicist who recently lost her job due to the recession. Talbert said her personal experience with the difficult economy seems to be resonating with voters. She said she has also gained good reviews from her performance at forums alongside Moore and Yoder.

“I’m very direct, and I’m straightforward, and I answer the questions. I’m not interested in slinging any mud,” Talbert said.

If elected, she said she would work to reduce federal debt and pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

By George Diepenbrock

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Advance voting still available

Voters wanting to avoid lines or the last-minute rush on Election Day can cast their ballots in advance through Saturday, Oct. 30, in Shawnee. The Johnson County Election Office is offering advance voting at Ten Quivira Plaza, 12156 Shawnee Mission Parkway (one block west of Quivira Road). Registered voters can cast their ballots from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Friday, Oct. 29, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

Election officials also say there’s still time to vote by mail, by completing an Application for an Advance Voting Ballot by Mail and faxing it to (913) 791-8931, (913) 791-8932 or (913) 791-8933, or mailing it to Johnson County Election Office, 2101 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, KS 66061.

Applications for mail ballots are also available at the Election Office and libraries. Completed applications must be received at the Election Office before 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.

To be counted, mail ballot must be received at the Election Office before 7 p.m. on Election Day.


All Johnson County polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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Brownback leads in race for campaign contributons

Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback is far out-pacing Democrat Tom Holland in the race for campaign funds. For the period from July 23 through Oct. 21, Brownback had nearly $1.2 million in cash on hand, raised $864,000 and spent $1.4 million. He had approximately $634,000 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Holland started with $103,000 cash on hand, raised $366,000 and spent $395,000 leaving him about $74,000

In the remaining statewide races, Democrats raised more funds than their Republican opponents.

Attorney General Steve Six received $368,000 during the reporting period, compared with Republican Derek Schmidt's $283,000.

Secretary of State Chris Biggs raised $218,000, compared with $137,000 by the GOP's Kris Kobach.

State Treasurer Dennis McKinney raised $116,000 to Republican Ron Estes' $64,000.

By Scott Rothschild

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Kevin Yoder fined in 2009 for refusing Breathalyzer test

Congressional candidate Kevin Yoder entered a plea in traffic court in 2009 in connection with refusing to take a preliminary breath test as part of a traffic stop on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence, according to Douglas County court records. “Kevin was pulled over for speeding. He was asked to take a field sobriety test, which he passed,” Yoder’s campaign spokeswoman Alissa McCurley said in a statement. “He was issued a speeding ticket and then asked to take a preliminary Breathalyzer test. He declined because he had passed the sobriety test. Kevin was not driving under the influence. He paid the fine for one citation, the other was dismissed.”

Yoder, an Overland Park Republican and current Kansas House member, faces Democrat Stephene Moore and Libertarian Jasmin Talbert in the Nov. 2 election. The candidates are seeking to represent the state’s 3rd District — which includes eastern Lawrence and Douglas County plus Johnson and Wyandotte counties — in Congress.

According to online court records, Yoder was pulled over by a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper on Feb. 8, 2009. He faced two citations initially — one for allegedly driving 80 mph in a zone with a 70 mph speed limit and one for refusing to submit to the preliminary breath test.

According to the records in the case, on June 5, 2009, prosecutors dismissed the speeding charge, and he entered a guilty plea to refusing to submit to the breath test. He was assessed $165 in fines and court costs, which were paid that day. More information from the Douglas County district attorney’s office was unavailable Sunday.

Moore’s campaign manager, Matt Sinovic, called Yoder’s actions “irresponsible” and said the incident meant “he is not fit to be a member of Congress.”

“As a nurse for more than 25 years, Stephene has seen the horrific consequences of drunk driving,” Sinovic said in a statement. “In America, no one is above the law. Leaders in our community must be held to high standards and be accountable for their actions.”

By George Diepenbrock

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Democrats sign pledge of no more cuts to schools; Brownback declines to sign

Leading Kansas Democrats on Thursday signed a pledge to oppose any further budget cuts to public schools and criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback's position on education funding. Asked to sign the pledge by the Democrats, Brownback’s campaign declined and responded that growing the economy was needed to ensure schools are funded.

The Democrats also left areas on the pledge for House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, to sign.

Asked about it, O’Neal said, “Are they going to sign a pledge not to raise taxes?” Morris said that he hopes schools can be spared any further cuts but that he didn’t want to sign a pledge in case an emergency arose.

“I’m very supportive of K-through-12 and higher education,” he said.

Brownback has proposed a freeze in state spending, which his Democratic opponent Tom Holland said would result “in significant cuts to public schools” because it wouldn't replace federal funds to schools that will expire next year.

The Democrats also said Brownback's push for revamping the school finance formula means that local school districts will have to make up more of school funding through increases in property taxes.

Brownback has declined to specify what he thinks is wrong with the finance formula. He has also said he wants more dollars to reach the classroom.

When asked if he would sign the pledge presented by the Democrats, Brownback's spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag issued a statement, saying, “The greatest threat to education funding is the economic recession. Last year, Kansas lost more than 50,000 private sector jobs. The Road Map for Kansas provides detailed policy solutions necessary for growing our state’s economy and growing the economy is the best way to fund our schools.”

“Road Map for Kansas” is what Brownback calls his campaign proposals.

Holland, Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence each signed the pledge during a news conference.

The three said that since the state has taken over more of the responsibility of funding the public school system, test scores on reading and math have increased significantly.

“We are already moving in the right direction, we can't turn back now,” said Holland.

Holland said he would increase funding to schools as the economy improves.

Because of recent budget cuts, the base state aid per pupil has dropped from $4,492 to $4,012.

By Scott Rothschild

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Brownback, Kobach call for voter identification requirement

As the deadline passed Monday for people to register to vote in the general election, Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback and GOP secretary of state candidate Kris Kobach vowed, if elected, to push through laws that would require people to show a photo ID to vote. Democratic candidates for those offices -- Tom Holland and Chris Biggs -- said the proposal was unnecessary, costly and would burden elderly Kansans and people with disabilities.

“You have to present a photo ID to cash a check written against your own account,” argued Kobach. “It's perfectly reasonable to ask for the same safeguards when voting,” he said.

Brownback also said he supports requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote. “This will help reduce instances of voter fraud,” Brownback said.

Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, and Biggs, the incumbent secretary of state, said voter fraud is not a problem in Kansas.

“This is a solution in search of a problem,” said Holland. “The largest threat to the integrity of our elections would be career politicians placing additional – and expensive - barriers between voters and the ballot box. This burden would be especially hard on the elderly, the poor and the disabled,” he said.

The League of Women Voters agrees with Holland’s assessment in opposing ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements.

The league says that based on surveys 11 percent of adult Americans, including more than one-third of people over the age of 75, don’t have a photo ID.

Biggs said Kobach couldn’t be trusted with running fair elections, and pointed to the time Kobach, while serving as chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, sent out a fundraising e-mail in which he boasted “to date the Kansas Republican Party has caged more voters in the past 11 months than the previous two years.”

Caging voters is a term generally used to describe a way to suppress voting in predominantly minority districts that tend to vote for Democrats. After the e-mail went out, state Republican Party officials said they used the “caged” term to describe efforts to identify voters and their views on certain issues.

Holland also noted that photo ID laws have generated numerous lawsuits in the states where they have been approved.

“We shouldn’t put Kansas on the same road to failure by wasting taxpayer dollars on expensive and unnecessary litigation,” he said.

By Scott Rothschild

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Brownback aims at hunting dollars

If he bags the governor's race, Republican Sam Brownback said Tuesday he will start the Kansas Governor's Invitational Pheasant Hunt as a way to make Kansas the top pheasant hunting destination in the midwest. Brownback faces Democrat Tom Holland in the election.

"Kansas is consistently ranked as one of the top three states in the country for pheasant hunting," Brownback said. "This is an under-utilized asset for our rural communities. If we do a better job telling folks about the quality hunting available here in Kansas, we will pull more of those tourism dollars into Kansas," he said.

Brownback said South Dakota receives more than $220 million of economic activity in pheasant hunting alone, while the impact of all hunting in Kansas is about $270 million.

Brownback said his proposed Kansas Governor's Invitational Pheasant Hunt would kick off the pheasant hunting season, which starts the second weekend in November. He said he would invite community and business leaders from across the country for a weekend of hunting and networking.

By Scott Rothschild

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Kansas Republicans opposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but sought stimulus funding

Last year, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., criticized the federal economic stimulus bill as “an old-fashioned grab-bag spending bill.” But that hasn’t stopped Brownback and his fellow Republicans who voted against the bill from working behind the scenes to secure funding under it.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity reported that scores of U.S. House and Senate members who opposed the bill, and voiced strong criticism of it, later tried to win approval of certain projects under the legislation.

Kansas’ Republican congressional delegation fits that description, lobbying for tens of millions of dollars in projects.

Brownback, who is now the Republican candidate for governor, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran, Todd Tiahrt and Lynn Jenkins all voted against the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but all wrote letters seeking government spending under the act, according to the report. The measure was essentially pushed through by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.

In records rounded up by the Center for Public Integrity, Brownback wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking approval for a road project in Olathe. He also wrote the Energy Department for a grant proposal submitted by Victory Electric for an electric grid project.

Moran, R-Kan., who is now the GOP candidate for Senate, wrote to LaHood in support of a grant for the intermodal facility near Gardner. Moran also wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu to support a proposal from Exide Technologies for a grant for manufacturing advanced batteries. Exide, based in Georgia, has 1,000 employees in Kansas, according to Moran’s letter.

Jenkins, R-Kan., wrote LaHood in favor of a project to spend money on improving freight rail lines, saying it was needed to help the Kansas economy.

Roberts wrote the Commerce Department to offer his support for a grant application by Sunflower Broadband of Lawrence to provide telecommunications service in rural northeast Kansas.

The entire Kansas delegation signed a letter for a broadband grant for the Kansas Farm Bureau. Kansas congressional officials wrote several additional letters seeking broadband funding.

Brownback, Moran and Jenkins, who are all on the ballot Nov. 2, did not respond to a request for comment on the new report.

This isn’t the first time Brownback has been noted for his opposition to the stimulus bill while also seeking funding from it.

Last year, Brownback issued a news release applauding a $1.78 million federal grant to help build a rail spur in Hutchinson. The grant was made possible by the stimulus bill.

At the time, Democrats criticized Brownback, saying that if Brownback had had his way, the federal stimulus bill would have never passed.

Here is a link to the study http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2532/

By Scott Rothschild

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Candidates to hold live chats on LJWorld.com ahead of election

In preparation for November’s general election, LJWorld.com will be hosting live chats with candidates for national and state offices this week. Republican Kevin Yoder, 3rd Congressional District, will take questions from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, who is running for re-election against Republican Derek Schmidt, will chat from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

You can submit questions in advance and read transcripts from recent chats by logging on to LJWorld.com/chats.

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Kobach, Biggs in dispute over advance voting ad

Republican secretary of state candidate Kris Kobach on Thursday said a federally funded ad by his Democratic opponent, incumbent Chris Biggs, was "crass-politicking at taxpayer expense." Biggs' spokesman defended the spot, describing it as a voter education effort. The problem, Kobach said, is that at the end of the 30-second spot, Biggs is identified and there is a shot of him sitting at a desk.

Naming and showing Biggs adds nothing to the voter information of the ad, he said. "This is naked politicking," Kobach said.

And he criticized Biggs for falsely claiming that the ads were "public service announcements."

Public service announcements run for free and usually at odd hours, Kobach said. This ad is paid for and being placed with taxpayer dollars and is running during expensive time slots, like the 5 p.m. news hour, he said.

Tyler Longpine, a spokesman for Biggs, said there was nothing wrong with the ad. The total cost of the effort was $159,000 and was paid for with a federal Help America Vote Act grant, he said.

He said mentioning Biggs' name in the ad was necessary to let voters know who was providing the information. He said there was nothing wrong with using the photo of Biggs at the end of the ad.

Kobach said a similar ad was run by Biggs during the primaries in August, but that Biggs' photo did not appear.

By Scott Rothschild

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