Friday, November 26, 2010

KS-3: Analysis of a Republican Victory

Perhaps no win on election night 2010 was as gratifying for local Republicans as the return of the 3rd congressional district in Kansas to Republican control after 12 years. As of this writing, all outstanding U.S. house races have been resolved, and Republicans gained 63 seats this cycle - well in excess of the 39 needed to take majority status in the House of Representatives. With 242 members in the 112th Congress, Republicans will have their largest majority in the lower house of any party since 1949. The takeover of KS-3 by Republican Kevin Yoder played a significant role in the Republican comeback strategy of 2010.

So how did it happen? Kevin Yoder not only won the 3rd District, he won it handily with a landslide 59 percent to Moore's 38 percent, a 21 point margin. Let's look at the numbers:

  • Conventional wisdom holds that any Republican running in the 3rd District needs to get 55 percent of the vote in Johnson County to win the district at large (assuming that the Republican will lose Wyandotte County and the 3rd district portion of Douglas by 40-50 percent). Since Johnson County represents the population center of the district, a strong win in the county will cement overall victory despite the strong Democratic nature of Douglas and Wyandotte. In 2002, Adam Taff came the closest to beating Moore, winning Johnson County with 53 percent of the vote but falling just short of the magic 55 percent needed to win the district, losing overall by a narrow 50-47 percent margin to Moore. In 2004, Kris Kobach lost Johnson County with 48 percent of the vote, losing to Moore by 12 points. The low point for local Republicans came in 2006, when Chuck Ahner only received a paltry 38 percent of Johnson County's vote, leading to a landslide 64-34 percent win for Moore.

  • For the first time since 2002, a Republican not only won Johnson County but took it in a landslide. Yoder easily surpassed the 55 percent threshold, winning Johnson County with a landslide 65 percent of the vote (compared to Nick Jordan's 45 percent showing just 2 years prior). That margin in and of itself would have ensured a comfortable win for Yoder in the district, but it is Kevin's performance in Democrat-dominant Wyandotte and Douglas Counties that made the difference between a comfortable point-spread and a landslide win.

  • On average, previous Republican performance in the 3rd District Congressional race averaged 23 percent of the vote in Wyandotte Coundy and 27 percent of the vote in Douglas County. Yoder not only outperformed prior Republican results in these liberal areas, he increased the Republican percentage of the vote by 50 percent in each locality, an incredible 15-point increase over Republican performance in 2008 for Wyandotte County and a 12-percent increase over 2008 results for Douglas County. Yoder garnered 36 percent of the vote in KCK and Lawrence, remarkable feats for any Republican. This combination of a strong (>55%) win in Johnson County and greatly improved numbers in Douglas and Wyandotte led to a strong 59 percent win in the district.

Here's a look at the raw numbers:

So how did these impressive and historic numbers materialize? A number of factors, including Yoder's incisive and well-executed campaign strategy and Stephanie Moore's campaign blunders deserve credit for this outcome:
  1. Selection of the "Right" candidate, a.k.a a nominee that unified the Republican Party. Contrary to popular belief, the 3rd District is not a Republican bastion. Cook's Political Report gives it a slight Republican lean of only +3, making it more of a swing district, especially now with the recent demographic shifts and influx of minorities from KCMO and Wyandotte County and recent transplants of younger, upwardly mobile career professionals lured to Johnson County by jobs at many growing technology firms and corporate headquarters. The 3rd District is diverse ideologically and has long been dominated by Republican moderates, ensuring a continuous conservative vs. moderate showdown that led to a string of election losses. The right candidate needed to assume a delicate balance and rise above the moderate-conservative divide that has fractured Kansas Republicans for so long. In short, the ideal candidate must uphold basic conservative principles so conservatives don't defect to a third party Reform or Libertarian nominee and yet be palatable to moderates to prevent them from voting for the Democrat or not voting at all. As we said back in 2008, Kevin Yoder "is known as a pragmatic voice in the legislature who transcends the moderate/conservative political divide in the Kansas GOP and is well-respected by moderates and conservatives alike." Fiscally conservative and socially moderate, yet pro-life, Kevin was the perfect candidate to unite all factions of the party.

  2. A campaign strategy that targets northeast Johnson County. In the past, Republican congressional nominees have foolishly (and to their detriment) ignored the dense, northeast part of the county in favor of the fast-growing and sprawling suburbs of Overland Park and Olathe. Meanwhile, Dennis Moore continued to to rack up lopsided margins in these areas, enabling him to win again and again. Northeast Johnson County isn't extremely liberal, but it is not conservative territory either - it is a moderate Republican stronghold, full of fiscally conservative - socially moderate to liberal voters and in some cases, voters who are only fiscally conservative when it comes to the federal government - not to state and local government. This year, the CEOs and country club Republicans in Mission Hills had every reason to vote Republican (impending tax cuts for the rich, card check legislation, health care burdens on employers) and unease over conservative stances on social issues took a backseat as moderate Republicans throughout the region saw their disposable income plummet amid higher taxes and greater regulations. Yoder's campaign aggressively targeted northeast precincts with sustained door-to-door canvassing and phone calls throughout the campaign. In 2008, Nick Jordan only won 1 out of 9 cities in the northeast part of the county (Mission Hills). In 2010, liberal-trending northeast Johnson County turned bright red as Kevin Yoder carried 7 out of 9 cities (Fairway, Merriam, Mission, Mission Woods, Mission Hills, Prairie Village, and Roeland Park), losing only Westwood and Westwood Hills by very narrow margins.

  3. Dissatisfaction with the circumstances surrounding the nomination of Mr. Moore's successor. Dennis Moore announced his retirement in 2008, declaring he wanted to spend more time with family. In spring of 2010, Moore's wife, Stephene, announced that she planned to run for the seat, contradicting her husband's reasoning for stepping down. To the average voter, this reeked of political cronyism - and nepotism - at its worst. A congressman announces his retirement, gives a phony reason, and paves the way for his wife, who many view as unqualified since she has no prior history in elected politics and would not have been taken seriously without her husband's name. Stephene Moore attempted to deflect criticism by stating she would be her own person and vote irrespective of her husband - even differing from him on some issues. Yet she subsequently took positions on the issues that matched her husband exactly. The slogans wrote themselves: "No MOORE: It's Not a Family Business." Even Democrats were uncomfortable: a no-name, somewhat eccentric former Republican - a perennial candidate who has run for congress several times - changed parties to run against Mrs. Moore at the last minute in the primary. Despite being outspent by more than 20 to 1 and doing virtually no campaigning, Mr. Scherrer held Moore to 79 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. This was only a sign of things to come.

  4. Moore ran as a liberal in a very business-friendly, decidedly non-liberal district. Dennis Moore cleverly adapted to the district, stressing his blue dog credentials, voting for free trade pacts, and even voting for the 2001 tax cuts before he became beholden to his party when they gained the majority in 2006. Yet his wife strangely decided to run as an avowed liberal. Stephene Moore unabashedly took stands in favor of Obamacare, Cap-and-Trade, and union card-check legislation. Although her husband always curried the favor of the local business community, Stephene promoted her support by various unions - all of which had small memberships in Johnson County. Johnson County, a hub of small, independent businesses in Kansas City, loathed union card-check legislation and this lack of support was apparent at the debate sponsored by the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, where members applauded Yoder enthusiastically and visited his table before the debate. Meanwhile, Moore was clearly out of her element. Yoder keenly grasped on this disconnect and reiterated Moore's support for Obamacare, Cap and Trade, and Card Check, along with his opposition to all 3, and tied Moore to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a deeply unpopular figure in the 3rd) at every opportunity. Moore claimed to be the "moderate" in the race but could not articulate what that was via a single stance or issue she supported.

  5. Moore's unfocused and lackluster campaign. Campaign theme? Platform? Message? Stephene Moore's campaign lacked any coherency. The only consistent theme to emerge was Stephene's claim that her experience as a wife, mother, and nurse qualified her for congress. She ironically labeled Yoder as a "career politician" while asking for a vote for in the same breath - the wife of the consummate career politician who had had spent nearly 25 years of his life in elected office. Moore's campaign displayed banners that read "fiscal conservative" at local parades, even though she supported the Obama stimulus and all other spending priorities of the Democratic majority. And she simultaneously promised "moderation" to the business crowd while reassuring the unions and progressive activists that she would be a reliable liberal vote. The confusion reached a tipping point when Moore was confronted by KMBC Channel 9's Michael Mahoney, asking her to explain her claim that repealing healthcare would add several billion to the deficit. Moore stumbled and finally provided an incoherent answer that seemed to contradict her position - indicating that a repeal would reduce the deficit - clearly a mistake, as that position was argued by Yoder. In the final weeks, the Moore campaign seized on revelations that Yoder had refused a pre-breath test during a traffic stop in 2009 and released a ridiculous TV ad attempting to link Yoder to Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson. The ad was not only completely ridiculous and irrelevant, it violated Moore's promise to maintain a clean campaign and her professed, strong antipathy to negative campaigning. Another contradiction and episode in cognitive dissonance. Not only that, Moore had apparently realized that a campaign centered on her personality and positions would go nowhere, so this complete act of desparation was an attempt to gain votes against Yoder, not for her, by default. Needless to say, it backfired incredibly.

  6. Yoder builds a campaign warchest. The Yoder campaign realized early on that raising money was crucial to defeating Mrs. Moore, who would have access to funding from her husband and donors who had supported her husband in the past. As expected, Stephene raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, surpassing her husband's previous fundraising records, but Yoder took several steps further. The Yoder team raised $1.5 million over the course of the race, including 703K in the 3rd quarter alone. This enabled the Yoder campaign to generate up to 15,000 calls to voters every week, knock on 1-2 thousand doors a week, and make expensive media buys that enabled them to run positive ads while also targeting Stephene Moore for taking unpopular stands and ambiguously deflecting questions about whether she'd vote for Pelosi as speaker. Moore could not compete in fundraising - although, most likely she would have outraised any of the other Republican candidates had they made it out of the primary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GOP Reclaims Johnson County

Any notion that Johnson County is trending Democratic has been refuted by this month's election results. Conventional wisdom held that Kansas City's most populous suburban county - highly-educated, highly-mobile, wealthy, and densely-populated Johnson County - was moving from a Republican bastion to ripe territory for future Democratic gains. Recent history seemed to confirm this, as Sebelius won the county in her gubernatorial re-election in 2006 and Democrat Paul Morrison also won in the same year as Democrats picked up 3 house seats, giving them a record 6 statehouse seats out of 22 from Johnson County.

Yet those gains were shattered on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd 2010 when Johnson County swung to the right in dramatic fashion, taking on a dark crimson hue. All Republicans running statewide won the county with 60 percent or more of the vote (Jerry Moran led the way, garnering 66 percent of the vote in Johnson County - a substantial increase over now fellow Sen. Pat Roberts' 57 percent in 2008). For the first time in eight years, a Republican congressional nominee won the county, and five of the six Democratic state legislators were defeated, leaving one lone Democrat (Mike Slattery - Mission) in Johnson County's 22 member statehouse delegation.

Key to this lopsided, landslide victory was the incredible turnaround in the northeast part of the county, a moderate stronghold that has veered to the left in recent elections. Jerry Moran won EVERY municipality in the northeast of the county, including the most liberal-leaning cities of Mission, Roeland Park, and Westwood (which straddles stateline and barely lies within the county). Additionally, Kevin Yoder also won the northeast region successfully, taking every city except for Westwood and Westwood Hills.

It should also be noted that Republican statehouse incumbents who won in 2008 with percentages in the 50s were re-elected with percentages in the high 60s (a dramatic shift was seen in State Rep. Owen Donohoe's race, where the incumbent won with a 26 percent margin unlike his '08 race, where he won by only 5 percent). Two Republican incubments - Sheryl Spalding and Pat Colloton - won with 74 and 75 percent of the vote this year, margins that can only be deemed as "super" landslides.

The local Democratic Party in Johnson County is demoralized and its ranks are depleted. Out of the 5 GOP pickups in local statehouse seats, we at the Konnection correctly predicted four that would switch (3 definite pickups, 1 GOP-lean), one that was a toss-up, and one that leaned Democratic. Let's look at how those predictions panned out:

1. We rated the 19th District, Furtado (D) vs. Denning (R), as most likely to switch and predicted a margin of 55-45 percent. Our prediction for Jim was exact, as he took 55 percent of the vote to Furtado's 42 percent.

2. In Overland Park's 16th District, we predicted that Amanda Grosserode (R) would defeat Gene Rardin (D) 53-47 percent. Grosserode outperformed our expectations, but we were still close in our prediction as Grosserode won, 55-45 percent.

3. We predicted that FDIC Judge John Rubin would finally take the Shawnee-based 18th District seat from Cindy Neighbor, but few predicted the incredible blowout that occured, as Rubin racked up a 59-41 percent win, far surpassing our overly-cautious prediction of a 51-48 percent victory.

4. We predicted that Greg Smith, father of slain Shawnee Mission West senior Kelsey Smith would win a suprise upset in this longtime Democratic district that has only been held by a Republican once - for a 2 year term - in its entire history and we were not only correct in our predicted, we predicted the results accurately as well - 51 to 49 percent against Democrat Lisa Benlon.

5. The Merriam and eastern Shawnee-based 23rd district came out strongly for Obama in 2008 and Democrat Milak Talia was swept up in the Obama tide after a previous loss in 2006. The district's rapidly changing Democratics led us to hesitate in predicting a strong win for Hildabrand, although his strong grassroots campaign and incredible work in the precincts would make it competitive - we didn't see Hildabrand winning the seat by more than a percentage point. Fortunately, we were wrong again as Hildabrand won by an 8 point margin, defeating Talia, 54-46 percent.

6. Mike Slattery, representing one of the most liberal districts in Johnson County, had only nominal opposition from Republican Michael Foltz, and as such, he won with 60 percent of the vote - far stronger than our predicted 56 percent. Look for Mr. Slattery's political fortunes to change when Republicans in Topeka re-draw the map and add 7-8 more house seats in Johnson County due to census results and attempt to draw a more GOP "friendly" 24th District.

Yes, folks the consensus is in: Sebelius' attempt to dramatically alter the political landscape in Johnson County has failed. Her Bluestem fund was still flush with money and thousands was spent on behalf of local Democrats this cycle just like in 2008, but their message fell on deaf ears. Johnson County's flirtation with Democrats is officially over.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A First Look at Last Week's Election Results

Where do we even start? Last week, history was made. Republicans have won at least 60 additional seats in the U.S. house (and possibly up to 65 pending a few unsettled races), racking up the largest gains of any party since 1948 - far outpacing their performance in the Republican Revolution of 1994. While the GOP did not gain an outright majority in the Senate, they did gain 6 seats, bringing their numbers up to 46 in that legislative body. The GOP also made incredible gains in statehouses around the county - the GOP now dominates in Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine - all former Democratic strongholds. While the Democratic Party attempts to use diversity as a wedge issue and argument for quota-driven policy, the GOP welcomed the election of members of all backgrounds:
  • 2 Republican African Americans elected to the U.S. House
  • The first Latino woman governor of any state (Susanna Martinez, New Mexico)
  • The first Indian-American woman governor of any state (Nikki Haley, South Carolina)
  • A young and rising Republican star in Cuban-American Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Senate

And many other new faces of all backgrounds and races. Too many victories to name them all, but winning Obama's Senate seat in Illinois was also a major coup!

Here in KS, we also made history. We elected a Republican governor and Republican candidates swept all statewide offices (Secretary of State, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Attorney General). Republicans posted large gains in the statehouse races increasing their numbers by 16 seats, increasing an already large 76-49 seat margin to a blowout 92-33 seat margin, a history-making feat since the last time the GOP held such a super-majority in Topeka was in 1954 when fellow Kansan, Dwight Eisenhower was president! Here in Johnson County, 5 of the 6 incumbent Democratic state legislators were crushed by their Republican opponents, leaving one, lone delegate in the 22-member house delegation from Johnson County.

Our next series of blog postings will analyze some of these local races in greater detail.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rating the Races: the JoCo House Races Most Likely to Flip Republican

12 Days until one of the most impacting elections of our lifetime. Johnson County is represented by 22 state legislators in the House of Representatives in Topeka, 16 of whom are Republicans. Just 6 years ago, Johnson County only sent one Democrat to Topeka. Buoyed by Democratic gains in 2006 and the Obama wave in 2008, the Democrats now boast of 6 representatives from Johnson County. With an anemic 28 percent approval rating in Kansas, Obama is political anathema to most Democrats, and that rings true in Johnson County, the state's most populous, prosperous, and urban county whose flirtation with the Democrats will end this year. The Democrats stand to lose what little progress they've made in Johnson County. Here is our analysis of the Democratic seats most likely to flip this cycle, starting with those seats almost certain to move to the Republican column:

1. 19th District - Jim Denning (R) vs. Dolores Furtado (D-inc.) - this longtime Republican district that takes in a large but narrow portion of Overland Park from 87th and Metcalf to 132nd and Metcalf was represented by Tim Owens for many terms until he stepped down to run and successfully fill the senate seat vacated by Barbara Allen of Overland Park.

Incumbent Dolores Furtado, a former JoCo Commissioner, is the most liberal member of the Democratic delegation from Johnson County and won by just about 200 votes over John Skubal, the Republican and OP city councilman whom many say ran a lackluster campaign.

This year, Jim Denning, well-known CEO of Discover Vision Centers and brother to JoCo Sheriff Frank Denning, is running against Furtado on the salient themes of holding the line on taxes, cutting spending, and balancing the budget. Denning is a successful business owner who has created jobs and operates in the healthcare field, giving him keen and unparalleled insight on the recent healthcare law and reducing healthcare costs in Kansas. Jim also has the advantage of having his incredibly task-focused and detail-oriented wife, JoCo GOP secretary Marearl Denning, as his campaign manager. Jim is a top-tier candidate in a Republican year running an aggressive and top notch campaign.

Prediction: Definite GOP pickup, Denning 55-45 percent

2. 16th District - Amanda Grosserode (R) vs. Gene Rardin (D-inc.)
Former educator Gene Rardin has maintained a very tenuous hold on this district since he was first elected in 2006 after a bitter GOP primary with a classic moderate-conservative battle. Despite that, Rardin has never locked down this district, which includes a sliver of southeastern Lenexa and a large portion of Overland Park, stretching along US-69 from 91st street to 119th St., anchored by downtown Overland Park in the north. Amanda Grosserode, a young wife, mother, and darling of the Tea Party movement here in Johnson County stemming from her first 2009 protest outside Dennis Moore's office, is the Republican nominee. Grosserode has created a local profile for herself and has aggressively campaigned in the district, walking the entire district door-to-door twice already. Rardin is much older and questions have been raised about his health and ability to campaign--even at the height of Obama mania in '08, Rardin won by less than 1 percent (less than 100 votes) against a GOP opponent who never walked the district. Youthful and energetic conservative Grosserode is in a prime position to reclaim this seat for the GOP.

Prediction: Likely GOP pickup, Grosserode 53-47 percent

3. 18th District - John Rubin (R) vs. Cindy Neighbor (D-inc.)
This district, which takes in a large portion of Shawnee, including the entire eastern half of the city, has developed a reputation as a swing district, a bellweather that signals the political direction of the county at large. This seat switched back and forth between Mary Pilcher Cook and Cindy Neighbor in GOP primary battles like clockwork from 2002-2004 (Cook won in 2000, Neighbor won in 2002, Mary won the seat back in 2004), until Cindy became a Democrat and squeked out a razor-thin 159 vote margin over Cook out of more than 8,000 votes cast in the Democratic tidal wave in 2006. Even in 2008, Neighbor could only muster a 5 percent margin against John Rubin, a longtime Shawnee resident and former FDIC judge. Rubin is back again and has name ID from his first run, and should be able to pull off the win this time. Western Shawnee is more conservative than eastern Shawnee, but east Shawnee still retains a large, blue-collar worker population that is culturally conservative, which gives the district a slight conservative lean overall. Education is also a powerful issue here, with the location of Shawnee Mission Northwest, Hocker Grove Middle School, and several elementary schools (Neighbor's position on the SM school board has always been an asset), but that issue is blunted this year with the focus on the economy in a district where unemployment and home foreclosures have hit especially hard. This year, the district formerly represented by Phil Kline and Mary Pilcher Cook returns to its conservative roots.

Prediction: Likely GOP pickup, Rubin 51-48 percent

4. 22nd District - Greg Smith (R) vs. Lisa Benlon (D-inc).
This far-north Overland Park district takes in a small portion of northwestern Prairie Village and is bounded by 75th Street to the north, Switzer to the west, 91st St. to the south, and Nall to the east. For many years, this was the sole Democratic seat in Johnson County, held for many terms by educator Sue Storm who vacated the seat to run for State School Board. The district has only been represented by a Republican once - in 1994 - for just 2 years, but this could be the upset of the year. Lisa Benlon made a deal with storm to run as a Dem for this seat in '08 (having formerly served as state rep in the 17th District prior to Stephanie Sharp), but Benlon was only able to garner 53 percent of the vote in 2008, a wave year, in a Democratic-leaning district. Benlon's opponent, Joy Bourdress, lost some votes to a Libertarian candidate but garnered a respectable 42 percent of the vote. It can safely be assumed that a 2 person race would have resulted in just a 5 point margin for Benlon: 53-47 percent.

This year, there is no libertarian on the ballot and current teacher, former police officer, and well-known father to slain high school student Kelsey Smith, Mr. Greg Smith, is on the ballot. Greg has extensive name ID due to the national coverage of the tragic murder of his daughter that sent shockwaves throughout the usually safe and secure suburbs in this county. Smith is respected for the work his foundation does (in memory and honor of his daughter) in educating young women in self-defense and changing the laws state-by-state to require cellular phone providers to hand over traceable data during emergency situations. Smith's current job as an American History teacher gives him credibility on education issues and he's running on a solidly fiscally-conservative and socially conservative platform. For the first time in 16 years, this district may switch parties. Whether Smith can hold it longer than 2 years (the record) remains to be seen.

Prediction: Toss-Up/Slight GOP lean. Smith 51-49 percent

5. 23rd District - Brett Hildabrand (R) vs. Milack Talia (D-inc.)
This politically challenging district for Republicans encompasses portions of eastern Shawnee (east of Quivira and Shawnee Mission Parkway) and all of Merriam in an area that borders the Wyandotte County line and has witnessed an influx of minority voters and changing demographics the last few years. Judy Morrison retired after holding the district for the GOP for several terms by razor-thin margins that only seemed to narrow with each passing election. Prior to Morrison, the district was held by Republican Cliff Franklin, but it had also been held by Democrats throughout the '80s and into the early '90s. The district was swept up in the Obama wave of '08, sending perennial Democrat Milack Talia to victory with a lopsided 56-43 percent margin over Shawnee Planning Commissioner August Bogina, who didn't care enough about his own campaign to bother with a campaign website.

Political newcomer Brett Hildabrand has been walking the district - an essential priority for a Republican in this district - even engaging voters in the numerous apartment complexes that proliferate the area. Hildabrand has also received help from Judy Morrison, whose similar grassroots activity and fine line between active conservative and advocate for local schools and businesses enabled her to hold the district much longer than any other Republican would have in a similar environment. The district has a high concentration of Democrats that slightly exceed Republicans, so the challenge is getting all Republicans out to vote and winning a vast majority of independents. The typical moderate-conservative divide that plagues other areas of the county is not a factor here, as the Republican voter base tends to be very conservative and the district overall has a slightly culturally-conservative tilt due to the large number of blue collar workers (which may explain Talia's shift to the right this last cycle and his vote against the sales tax increase in Topeka). Hildabrand has a chance to win this, but it won't be easy. Yet the candidate's dedication and personal likeability, combined with the local and naitonal winds that favor the GOP, make this district in play, which is why this "likely Dem" seat of 2008 is only "lean Dem" now and definitely provide some surprises on Election Day depending on turnout.

Prediction: Lean Dem. If Hildabrand wins: 50.6 - 49.4 percent. Talia won't top 52 percent if he retains the seat.

6. 24th District - Michael Foltz (R) vs. Michael Slattery (D-inc.)
Ronnie Metsker (current GOP chair) was appointed by precinct people to finish out Ed O'Malley's term, but was carried out by the Obama tide, garnering only 40 percent of the vote in 2008. This liberal-leaning district includes the inner-ring KC suburbs of Mission and Roeland Park, and was the only JoCo house district to vote for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. Mike Slattery, the son of former Congressman Jim Slattery, is affable, well-liked, and does not wade into controversy. It could also be said that his voting record is somewhat centrist, although undoubtedly left-of-center still on major issues.

Roeland Park Planning Commissioner Michael Foltz is mounting a challenge, and with community roots and a disarming persona, he could make some headway, but that same mild-mannered and low-key approach seems to have infected his campaign: he has failed to raise any money and has not established a campaign presence. He does have the endorsment of the left-leaning Mainstream Coalition, which helps in this liberal-leaning district, but Slattery should hold on, albeit with a reduced margin.

Prediction: Likely Dem, Slattery 54-46 percent

To recap, Republicans will most likely gain 3 seats, with the possibility of a 4th that is currently a tossup and a 5th that has an outside change of changing hands. Johnson County Democrats will be left with just 3 seats and maybe left after the Republican comeback in just 12 days.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Democrats give up on Stephene Moore - or is it "Stephen" Moore?

Stephene Moore just can't catch a break in her quixotic quest to keep the Kansas 3rd district seat in her family.

It started last week with her
disasterous interview with Mike Mahoney on her source for the claim that repealing Obamacare would add $1.3 trillion to the deficit. She froze, fumbled in her response, and ultimately contradicted herself by acknowleding cost savings if the law were repealed. Moore's inability to articulately and clearly justify a key claim she has made numerous times on a signature issue on the campaign stump may be the turning point in the campaign. As if on cue, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced that it would be scaling back its $900,000 TV ad buy in the KC market for Moore, ending it's financial committement on Oct.18th, two weeks before Election Day.

And now this: this past Saturday evening at 5:00 pm, I received an automated phone survey from the DNC on the 3rd District race. Either the DNC doesn't know how to conduct a phone survey or they just care so little for this race, that they would attempt to survey voters at 7 pm on a Saturday night WHEN NOBODY IS HOME! But the highlight of the survey: the announcer mistakenly referring to Stephene as "Stephen" Moore. I'm sure many of the voters of the 3rd District found it as humorous as I did that the Democrats have so little confidence in Stephene Moore's candidacy that they clearly chose to poll her district at the worst possible time and can't even get her name right. But it did serve as an apt metaphor for the current direction of her campaign - the symbolism could not be richer.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

To Vote for Pelosi or Not to Vote for Pelosi: That is the Question Moore Won't Answer

Tonight was debate #4, the last and final debate between Kevin Yoder and Stephene Moore, hosted by Sun Publications, moderated by Sun Publisher Steve Rose, and televised live on local access channels.

At the fourth and final debate, Stephene still failed to directly answer whether she would vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. Pelosi's name is so toxic, especially in KS-3, that Moore could not even bring herself to say Pelosi's name when addressing--and then avoiding--the question!

Why is Moore deceptively claiming to be a fiscal conservative and a moderate while refusing to answer whom she would support for Speaker of the House over and over again? What does she have to hide? We know she supports stimulus, Obamacare, and Cap-and-Tax (which she falsely called "just an idea" despite the fact the legislation has already passed the House).

Perhaps Stephene was still reeling from her embarrassing encounter with a local KMBC 9 News reporter, who asked her about her comment that repealing the healthcare bill would add $1.3 trillion to the deficit. When pressed, the amount changed from $1.3 trillion to $1.3 billion and she couldn't answer where she obtained that number, and then contradicted herself by saying the money would come back into the budget.

As to whether she would vote for Speaker Pelosi? You can still hear the crickets chirping.

Yoder Sets New Fundraising Record

The Yoder for Congress campaign announced that it had taken in 730K in the 3rd quarter - a new record that includes over 2,000 individual donors with over 1/3 of contributions less than $100, demonstrating Yoder's appeal and the energy among grassroots Kansans for his campaign.

The previous record was most likely held by Dennis Moore, who raised 437K in the 3rd quarter of 2004. Yoder's campaign has already raised $1.5 million in the last 9 months.

As chairman of the Johnson County Young Republicans, I was happy to organize and lead a YR fundraiser for Yoder at the 810 Zone last Thursday that generated $1,000 for Yoder on the very last day of the fundraising quarter.

Energy and enthusiasm is high...just 27 days left to go.