Friday, January 29, 2010

Yoder raises 233K in less than a month; now considered frontrunner to replace Dennis Moore

Wow. Nick Jordan, Patricia Lightner and others have yet to release their 4th quarter fundraising numbers, but it's safe to say that Rep. Kevin Yoder is the frontrunner in the Republican race to replace Congressman Dennis Moore.

Yoder raised $233,000 in less than a month, having filed for office Dec. 16th and meeting the 4th quarter deadline for reporting contributions at the end of that month. This fundraising total is enormous and does not include any personal loans by Yoder himself.

Watch as other candidates in the race drop out. Yoder has generated significant momentum in the primary race and dollars to spend which will allow him to rise above the myriad other candidates and differentiate himself and his message to the Republican primary electorate. Additionally, this pace of fundraising will deter prospective Democrats from entering the fall general election and confirms that Yoder will remain an extremely formidable opponent heading into the general election, as well as the frontrunner and favored candidate.

From Yoder's Press Release:

Representative Yoder is in his fourth term in the Kansas House and represents parts of Overland Park and Leawood (20th District). As Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he has led the charge to reduce state spending and balance the state’s budget of over $13 billion without increasing taxes.

“Kansans are tired of the onslaught of taxes, regulation and overspending in Washington” said Yoder, “As Congressman, I’ll fight every day for the taxpayers of our district. We must send a strong message to Nancy Pelosi and politicians in Congress that we will not sit idly by while they bankrupt our country.”

Representative Yoder’s campaign will be focused on bringing fiscal responsibility back to Washington, common-sense solutions to create jobs for Kansans, rebuilding our economy, and stopping job-killing policies such as ‘cap-and-trade’, ‘card check’, and the government takeover of health care.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Official: Eilert files for County Chair

Longtime Overland Park Mayor and current 4th District County Commissioner Ed Eilert filed today to challenge incumbent Anabeth Surbaugh.

Here's a link to his campaign's press release on today's announcement.

This race will be one of the most-watched and most expensive races locally, as it pits two high-profile county figures against each other. Surbaugh cannot be underestimated (she's won several races since her first election to the county water board), but if an anti-incumbent mood is indeed sweeping the country, look for Eilert to benefit. Credited for Overland Park's robust economic boom and growth over the past two decades, Eilert has extensive business and civic coonnections--and being a popular officeholder in Overland Park (pop. 171,000) is a major benefit, and means that Surbaugh will have to offset that expected voter advantage by racking up large margins in the northeast of the county and out west.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Massachusetts Miracle and its Impact on the 2010 Elections and Obama's Agenda

A week ago, a special election shocked the political establishment and produced one of the most stunning political upsets in history.

Democrats understand that attempts to write off their major defeat in the deepest of blue states to a bad candidate (which Martha Coakley was) misses the mark completely. Scott Brown was a little-known state senator, initially disparaged and written off after winning his party's primary for the special election as too conservative to even be competitive in Massachusetts. Voter anger and frustration over the Cornhusker Kickback, the Lousiana Purchase, backroom deals on healthcare, the lack of transparency, legal rights for terrorists--all of these cannot be understated. Brown did not run away from these issues--he emphatically embraced his role and promised to be the 41st vote against overtaxation, the president's healthcare plan, and campaigned against legal rights for terrorists, going as far as to argue that waterboarding is not torture. Martha Coakley, meanwhile, embraced Obama's policies, a last minute visit by Obama to prop up her failing candidacy was not enough to overcome the voter's desire for change, even in the bluest of blue states where Obama is still relatively popular.

Within a few weeks, Scott Brown transformed a 30 point deficit in the polls into a lead of anywhere from 2-9 points. Coakley out-fundraised him significantly, but in the final weeks, Brown capitalized on his chances and the excitement nationally that a Republican could be elected statewide in Massachusetts to raise millions from grassroots and small donors online.

The ultimate result? Many anticipated an extremely close election that might result in court battles and multiple recounts. The final result was anything but that--A 52-47 win, and a margin of over 100,000 votes--a 5 point margin, which, by Massachusetts standards, is landslide territory (the last Republican to win an election statewide in MA, Mitt Romney, won with only 50 percent of the vote in 2002).

Up until the results were being counted, I still had doubt Brown would pull it off. This is Massachusetts--they haven't elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in almost 40 years and this was the seat that Ted Kennedy--the Senate's liberal lion--held for 47 years. The state's liberal reputation and voting demographics contradicted Brown's momentum and rise in the polls.

The map below from the New York Times shows the unbelieable--how Massachusetts was transformed from a deep-blue state to a sea of red. Brown managed to improve Republican margins over McCain's performance in 2008 in every county and every locality--even in the Democratic stronghold of Boston, where Brown increased the GOP share of the vote by 11 percent over McCain's '08 vote percentage against Obama.

Some key points from last Tuesday's elections:
  • Brown won 75 percent of Independents in Massachusetts, 22 percent of Democrats, and nearly all Republicans, dealing a death-blow to Coakley's candidacy. Brown's strong win among independents mirrors Obama's dramatic loss of independent support in 2009 and the movement of independents overall to Republicans in generic congressional ballot polls, something that began last November as independents swept Republicans to power in Virginia and New Jersey by significant margins.
  • Brown won by winning the suburbs--the middle-class enclaves surrounding Boston, Cambridge, and Springfield. Large wins in Worcester County, Plymouth County, Essex County coupled with smaller, but significant wins nonetheless in Revere, Waltham, and Quincy enabled Brown to put together the margins needed to win statewide. For what its worth, I stayed in Revere, an inner-ring suburb with 50,000 residents just outside the Boston city limits when I traveled to Boston this past summer, and the usually Democratic-voting suburb suprisingly swung towards Brown, demonstrating his appeal and the shift in the electorate in the Boston 'burbs and throughout the state. In a stinging bit of irony not lost on MA Democrats, Cape Cod, including the community where Ted Kennedy lived, swung towards Brown in this special election.
  • Brown's win in the Massachusetts suburbs is emblematic of the trends that began in last November's off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey. In Virginia, the northern Virginia suburbs swung back to the Republicans enabling their 3 standard bearers for the state's top offices to win in a stunning trifecta, and resulting in a net gain of 6 seats for the GOP in the statehouse. Voter-rich Fairfax County just outside of Washington, D.C., turned bright red by casting it's votes for Republican Bob McDonnell, backing a Republican for statewide office for the first time in several years, and sending two Republicans to the statehouse from previously-held Democratic seats. New Jersey's suburbs followed a similar course, as Chris Christie won a majority of New Jersey's counties, including Monmouth, Essex, and the NYC suburbs.

  • Conventional wisdom dictates that low-turnout elections favor Republicans while higher turnout favors Democrats. Again, that has proven to be false, as the 54 percent turnout in last Tuesday's special election rivaled statewide, midterm elections and was only surpassed by presidential elections in the state.

  • Obama made a last-minute appearance in Boston to stump for Coakley, but even that was not enough to pull Coakley over the finish line. Obama is now 0 for 3 in using his supposed personal popularity to push his party's candidates to victory. As his approval continues to tumble, watch as more Democratic incumbents decline Obama's help and campaign appearances. If Obama can't deliver in Massachusetts, his personal pitches will be futile across the country.

  • Youth are moving towards the GOP. Brown won voters aged 18-29 by 9 points last Tuesday. This follows the election last November where Republican Bob McDonnell captured 55 percent of young voters.

  • the Mass GOP is energized by the results and have already noted three congressional districts where Brown performed extremely well and where the party may have a good chance at knocking off some longtime Democratic incumbents. These districts in particular look competitive for the GOP next November, and some high-profile Republican recruits have already indicated they will run. For a state with monolithic, one-party representation of its 8 congressional seats for decades, this is a welcome development, and may mean that we will have to dial-down our anti-Massachusetts rhetoric. Clearly, appeals that invoke "Taxachusetts" and Massachusetts vs. the rest of the United States are no longer applicable. San Fransciso is still an appropriate symbol of loony, far-left liberalism run amok however.

  • Expect the Massachusetts election to result in a renewed flurry of Democratic retirements from the House and second-thinking by prominent Democrats considering an entry to hotly contested races. Case-in-point: Beau Biden, considered by Democrats to be their only hope of retaining the open Senate seat in Delaware, has indicated to his dad now that he does not want to run. Does the political tsunami last Tuesday have any bearing on his decision not to run? We think so. Consider the Delaware Senate seat now a very likely pickup for Republican Mike Castle.

  • Locally, the MA results may affect whether Dems recruit a top-tier challenger (if there even is one) for Dennis Moore's seat here in the Third District of Kansas, and whether Ike Skelton decides to retire rather than run in what is shaping to be the most difficult race of his career in Missouri's 4th District

  • Remember when pundits were lamenting the loss of Republicans in the northeast and the death of Republicans in New England, claiming the party would never be viable or competitive again? A newly-elected Republican senator from Massachusetts shattered those predictions, and the party is likely to build on their success in the northeast by electing a Republican Senator from Delaware in Rep. Michael Castle, a good chance to be competitive in the Connecticut Senate Race, a chance at taking out Gillibrand in New York and electing a Senator Pataki or King, and Pat Toomey is now the favorite to beat Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Republicans are well on their way to winning a Senate seat in New Hampshire with Attorney General Kelly Ayote. So Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut may all be represented by Republican senators and the addition of several representatives in the House delegations. Not bad for a party that's "dead" in the northeast!

Massachusetts voters have finally revolted against that state's one-party rule, oppressive taxation, and most of all--the Obama-Pelosi agenda. Now the revolt continues in the 49 other states leading up to 2010.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top of the Week Headlines and Happenings

  • A local Johnson Countian with an interest in politics has created a new blog where he provides thoughtful commentary and analysis on national issues from a center-right perspective. Kansas has a dearth of thoughtful political blogs, and Kevin Edwards new addition is much welcome. Check it out at -- I've added the blog to my favorites blog listings on the right.
  • Are you an 18-40 year old Republican in Johnson County? The Johnson County Young Republican Transition meeting has been rescheduled for this Wednesday, January 13th at 6:30 pm at Old Chicago (119th and Metcalf). Anyone interested in becoming more involved in the 2010 elections is welcome to attend--we also have several Executive Board positions still open, including Secretary, PR Chair, Membership Chair, and Vice - Chair of Membership. If you know any interested parties, please spread the word! Hope to see you there, and contact if you're interested in a board position or would like to join the organization.
  • Are Republicans finally embracing online technology and social media? The Brownback campaign is not only embracing the technology--they're creating the latest wave of 21st century social media communications. The Brownback campaign recently launched a revolutionary "SamForGov" iPhone application, the first-ever iPhone application used by a gubernatorial campaign in America. Check out more at:
  • Speaking of the Brownback campaign, the buzz in Topeka is that Brownback will soon name his running mate for lt. governor. Word is that strategically, the nominee will be a Johnson County pol and a woman. Some of the names mentioned: Karin Brownlee, Julia Lynn, Charlotte O'Hara, and Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn. Any word on who his running mate might be or anything to add to the buzz? Leave a comment and start the conversation.
  • There are 6 candidates for the 3rd District Congressional seat at this point (a possible seventh, who hasn't decided yet). Three of those candidates have the potential to make it a race and actually raise money: Nick Jordan, Kevin Yoder, and Patricia Lightner. Jordan and Yoder are taking the fundraising lead. It's anyone's guess as to how this primary race will wrap up, but Steve Rose at the Johnson County Sun has already predicted a Yoder win in the primary and in the general--returning the 3rd District to Republican control after more than 10 years. Watch for Yoder to go head-to-head with Jordan. In the end, Jordan's greatest liability remains his lackluster and disappointing '08 campaign. As the new kid on the blog, Yoder's age, freshness, and experience managing the state's budget will all prove to be assets as well as the deep reservoir of goodwill he has built up among moderates and conservatives alike.
  • Republican precinct committee members in northeast Johnson County have convened to appoint replacements for two state legislative seats in the past four weeks. State Sen. David Wysong's announced retirement created a vacancy in his district, which was filled by Rep. Terrie Huntington (she ran unopposed). Due to the unusual circumstances of this election, Huntington will face election in the fall, the only state senator to do so. The 7th Senate District is the most liberal-leaning district held by Republicans in Johnson County and encompasses the most inner-KC suburbs of Merriam, Fairway, Prairie Village, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Westwood, Westwood Hills, and Roeland Park. Wysong won with a less-than-impressive 54 percent in '08, and Huntington will have to work hard to keep this seat under Republican control in 2010. Likewise, Huntington vindicated her state rep seat to run for the open state senate seat, and precinct people from the 24th house district chose Dr. Barbara Bollier over former Roeland Park Mayor Steve Petrehn to take Huntington's place. Bollier touted herself as a pro-choice, fiscal conservative who would resist cuts to public education. Petrehn's speech and positions placed him slightly to the left of Bollier, but it seems that Bollier will fit the mold of the district well and is not represent a significant change from Huntington. As state house districts go, this is also one of the most competitive and difficult to hold for a Republican, so Bollier has her work cut out for her.
  • Can a Republican win in Massachusetts? Ted Kennedy's untimely death has created a vacancy for his seat, setting up a special election on Jan. 19th. State Senator Scott Brown (R) is within single digits (9 points) in one poll of Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. Now, a new Democratic poll actually shows Brown leading Coakly by one point. If Republicans win this seat, Democrats will be stripped of their 60th vote needed to pass Obama's healthcare takeover. These numbers are a wakeup call for Democrats--Republicans in ordinary times should never have a chance at winning a U.S. Senate seat in the bluest of blue states. If Republicans win this seat, this will be the equivalent of a political earthquake heard around the country. Even a single digit loss is extremely significant in this state and signals a growing unrest with the direction taken by the Democratic majority in Washington. Watch these results closely.