Saturday, January 27, 2007

Kobach is the new state GOP chairman!

Kris Kobach has just been elected chairman of the GOP. On the first round of balloting, the vote was 65--Kobach, 56--Huelskamp, and 55--Pompeo, so Pompeo was knocked off, and Kobach ended up winning over most of Pompeo's delegates on the second round with a landslide victory of 109-65 victory over Huelskamp.

Kobach's speech clinced the victory as he spoke about his aggressive strategy to regain lost seats and transform the GOP into a "lean, mean vote-getting machine." He blasted the state party's lack of help on his campaign and pledged much-needed reform lest "we get killed again in '08."

Kobach immediately asked Huelskamp and Pompeo to join his executive committee team, which they graciously did. That was one of the best moves (Pompeo is a proven fundraiser, so hopfully he'll be in charge of fundraising to help erase the state party's debt)--no hard feelings, no regrets, grudges, or tension, and the beginning of a unified party. Kline's election as DA was a minor setback, but the strides made on the JoCo committee, 3rd District committee, and now at the state level are all steps in the right direction. We have moderates and conservatives working together, and EVERY delegate from all corners of KS showed up today--there is drive and passion to regain control and come back strong in '08 (too bad it took the losses of 2006 to get here).

Kobach's thick "blueprint" for success includes a specific strategy that flows all the way from the state party and national RNC to the precinct level (incl. involving us precinct committee members).

Sen. Pat Roberts gave a fantastic "motivational" speech, and signed up volunteers and passed out bumper stickers for his re-election effort in '08 (already underway).

And it looks like the 2nd district race is shaping up to be a showdown in the primary between state treasurer Lynn Jenkins and former congressman Jim Ryun (who's announced he may run again). Jenkins is "seriously considering" (to quote her directly). Either of them have the ability to beat Boyda (Ryun just happened to lose in a bad year with a strong national tide and he was a little too complacent). Jenkins was re-elected statewide with 64% in 2006, so she would be extremely formidable.

I was mingling with Thornburgh's people who say he's considering a run for governor in 2010 and will make the decision soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kansas Days approaching... Who will be the next KS GOP chairman?


Next weekend is Kansas Days, the annual Republican weekend of fun, policy, and serious soul-searching. Sen. Pat Roberts is the keynote speaker this year, and Sen. Brownback, Reps. Tiahrt and Moran, Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, Sec. of State. Ron Thornburgh, and a slew of other elected officials will be here.

I'm a 3rd District delegate, and so I will have a few 3rd district committee meetings to attend. I'm also an alternate state delegate, which means I may have the opportunity (if there is a no-show) to serve on the state committee and vote in the new GOP state party chairman, the most important function from this 3-day event.

Tim Huelskamp (KS state senator backed by KFL), Mike Pompeo (businessman and longtime party insider) and Kris Kobach (law professor and 3rd district congressional nominee) are all in the running. I propose that the state committee actually consider ramifications for the future of the party and our likelihood of success in upcoming elections when they make their choice (such a novel idea, I know, but it hasn't been considered for the past few years). Huelskamp--nice guy, good, sound credentials, but probably won't bring the party together or energize it. For me, that leaves the choice at Mike Pompeo or Kris Kobach, both of whom have the connections (Mike--KS, Kris--DC) and the drive and energy to take a new route and rebuild the party from the bottom up. Kris has been especially agressive in recent weeks in emailing and lobbying committee members, and his plans for establishing statwide GOTV strategies and a statwide voter database are just small portions of his grand design at revamping the state party. To those who discount Kris because of his failure in the 2004 election against Moore, I say that this may just be the best position for him, and a podium where he can constantly put the Dems on the offensive and make sure we're successful recruiting candidates and serving successfully as a state party.

So I have I decided yet? No, but my choice is definitely between Pompeo (who can unite all factions of the party) and Kobach (who has an ingenius and aggressive plan of action).

It should be noted that a recent Washington Post article compared state GOP parties and Kansas fell behind the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Republican parties as one of the most inefficient, least active, and least organized at recruiting candidates and helping their campaigns. Oh, and our state party has less money than the Rhode Island GOP. Massachusetts is the most liberal state in the nation, Rhode Island is 2nd, yet their state GOPs have more money than the Kansas GOP, in such a conservative state like ours? Our party is seriously dysfunctional, and the new chairman will have a lot of work to do. Most important tasks on the agenda for the new chairman:

1. Recruit promising Republican Candidates
2. Defeat Democrats at all levels
3. Raise $$$
Also, at Kansas Days we should get an idea on who's planning to take back the 2nd District seat in '08 from soon-to-be one-termer Nancy Boyda. Possible mentions: Alan Cobb, Ron Thornburgh, Lynn Jenkins, Lee Tafanelli, and (really?) Phill Kline.

I'll have an update after the convention. And then, for the time being, we can get back to national political, cultural, and foreign events (there's a lot happenin' outside Kansas).