Kansas Reflector staff recaps and analyzes election results
12:14AM Nov 14, 2022
Welcome to the post election edition of the Kansas reflector podcast. Wow, the 220 22 elections in November clash and the August primer offered something for everyone. There were surprises cheers and tears for Republicans, Democrats and independents across Kansas. Sitting with me today and our topic office are three reflector colleagues, editor Sherman Smith, reporter Rachel Mipro, opinion editor clay wire stone, and we're devoting this podcast to delving into the decisions of voters. Let's start with the November surprise at least for me, of Democratic governor Lord Kelly's reelection to a second term against Republican nominee Derek Schmidt, who build up political presence as Attorney General mixed into this as an independent candidate in his file a state senator who threw two by fours into the spokes of the campaign. Sherman, you want to lay down the foundation of this race and the Election Day decision with the numbers?
Yeah, we know the day after the election after it became clear that Laura Kelly had won her campaign manager her her communications director, Lauren Fitzgerald issued a fake news release that said for immediate release. Don't underestimate Laura Kelly. And I think that was kind of the, you know, really the theme of this campaign from the starts during the COVID 19 pandemic. Nobody expected that she could win reelection. The pandemic was hard on everybody and nobody likes who was in charge of it. But you know, she she ran a very disciplined campaign focusing entirely on her support for public schools and the economic developments in the state balancing the budget, recovering from the message inherited from her predecessor. Her her Republican challenger Derek Schmitz, the Attorney General, you know, he started off by attacking her on COVID-19 policies, but really just kind of focused on some of the the national rhetoric, critical race theory and socialism. She was Joe Biden's biggest ally, that sort of thing. And late down the stretch, he kind of fabricated this controversy about a drag show in Wichita, which he falsely said the governor's administration had paid for, even though he knew and and refused to retract his attack once he was presented with the facts of that case, that situation. And so on election day, we saw as many predicted all along a very, very close race too close to call on election night and Laura Kelly prevailing at, you know, somewhere around 17 18,000 votes, we still have mail in ballots coming in we we have some provisional ballots out there that will be considered. And then we have this third party candidate in Dennis Pyle and independence, state senator who left the Republican Party to try to be a champion for the the far right and to raise voices of people on the far right in Kansas. He believed that Derek Schmidt was not a true conservative that he and Laura Kelly were really too close together on the political scale. And it forced Derek Schmidt I think, to go to the right. In the end, Dennis Pyle had about 19,000 votes, which is enough to you think if all those votes went to Derek Schmidt, it would have been enough for Derrick Smith to win. Of course, it's hard to know who those people would have voted for if they would have even showed up if pile wasn't on the ballot.
Well, this is Clay. I would also just say, I think one of the biggest surprises in this race, really, for people who knew of many of the folks running Kelly Schmidt pile was just how I don't want to say inept, exactly because it wasn't inept, but just how underwhelming Derek Schmidt's campaign was, and not just at a certain point, but really throughout the entire throughout the entire campaign cycle. He never seemed to catch fire, he never seemed to have a great deal of enthusiasm for what he was doing. There was just always this kind of aura around him that he was kind of going through the motions, perhaps, especially when he started using that national rhetoric. And I think a lot of people in the State House reporters, you know, lobbyists, people who just, you know, knew the people in this race, I think expected him to conduct himself, frankly, with as a much better candidate and better person in some ways than he did.
Well, I gotta say, this is Tim, I, one of the shocking things to me to read was that more than $40 million are spent in this governor's race. I just find it appalling. I think people should be able to make the decision without anybody spending $40 million. Just think what that money could have done otherwise help people
could have expanded Medicaid in Kansas for that much money. Yeah, and
helped over 100,000 people with preventive health care. Wow. What are the trade offs there? Oh, Okay, Rachel, any thoughts about the governor's race? You're you're new to Kansas, you're from Louisiana. Is there anything about it that you thought was particularly interesting?
Yeah. Well to kind of go off of clays, thinking back here, I thought it was interesting about how much national GOP rhetoric he use, you know, like, I mean, I'm coming in from Louisiana, he could have used the same talking points there. You could have used it in any other state. Nothing was really personal to Kansas in this. We just saw fentanyl. We just saw a crime. We saw migration, nothing too personalized.
That's a good point. So there's a lot to take in here. So let's go quickly, the Kansas Attorney General's contest won by Republican Kris Kobach. Apparently, there's no no surprise. Kobach had detractors but Democrat Chris man nearly won this race. He was a first time candidate going against the person with perhaps the highest name recognition in Kansas clay, do you want to break it down?
Yeah, well, I mean, it's the third time I guess, is the charm for Kris Kobach. After running for governor in 2018, and losing to Kelly, then trying to make a run for US Senate in 2020 20. And I think frankly, the the state GOP did not want Kobach to run for this did not certainly did not want him to be their standard bearer, they they pitched kind of in behind state senator Kelly Warren, during the primary. But you know, the Kobach name the Kovach face, it's it's well known across Kansas. And ultimately, I think there's there's something to be said for name recognition, especially when we're in a race like Attorney General. It's a little lesser followed, perhaps than the governor's race than the big, you know, US congressional races. And, you know, he made it through I was surprised, in a way just as an observer, that, that he ultimately did it, I think, I think man had a had a vigorous campaign, but ultimately, probably just, I mean, he wasn't as well known.
So when I look at the race like this, I look at the voter registration advantage of Republicans, it's 800,000 to four or 500,000 for Democrats. And you would think the Republicans could Cakewalk a lot of these races, when it comes down to something this close, like in the man Kobach race for attorney general. The first thing I think of Sherman is that maybe there's something flawed about the Republican maybe there's something really here that Republican gives Republicans pause. Do you think that was part of the case?
And I think the question about Kobach was always whether he could win support from moderate Republicans, because he had positioned himself so far to the right in the past. And I think that for, for me, having covered his campaigns in 2018 2020, what was really interesting is that he seemed a lot more reserved this time around. He wasn't, you know, as wild and crazy seemed in 2018, or in the past, wasn't talking a lot about voter fraud. He, you know, he had his kind of staples of wanting to get rid of drop boxes. He's gonna sue Joe Biden, you know, every day and twice on Wednesday or something. But he also had some ideas of what he wanted to do with the office. And it felt like Chris man was running a campaign that was just, I'm not Kris Kobach and I think that just wasn't enough for people in the middle.
So perhaps, you know, one of the things that Mr. Kovach decided to do is to not be the bombastic Kris Kobach, but to be the quiet Kris Kobach. And maybe that helped him in the end. Let's turn to what we thought was going to be a really competitive congressional race in the third district in Kansas City. It's a gerrymandered district. It was designed by Republicans in the legislature to undermine and come at us representative Sharif, David's a Democrat, leading everyone to believe that she was put to perhaps vulnerable to Republican Amanda Adkins. This was essentially a redo of from the 2020 race. David's made the contest about Atkins as opposition to abortion. She fed off the August primary defeated the proposed constitutional amendment that would have struck a woman's right to bodily autonomy and abortion and Kansas. Atkins tried to link David's to President Biden and personally blamed David's for inflation. You know, it's I'm not sure it's anything a member of Congress from Kansas can control. And in response, David's hitched Atkins to former governor Sam Brownback, who is one of the state's most unpopular recent governor's clay, what's your sense of how how David's managed to win with a double digit margin?
Well, I think this race kind of uniquely among many of the races in Kansas, this cycle, Sharif, David's looked at the results of that August 2 amendment vote, and she never looked back. Like the the race was heavily predicated on women's rights rights to vote. Really autonomy to abortion rights and, and frankly Amanda Atkins, as someone who had directly worked in the the pro life movement, you know, that was a perfect summation, a perfect person to run against if that was going to be your prime argument as as a Democrat. And so I think those, I think that framing of the race, which, you know, David's also I think, like Laura Kelly, a very disciplined campaigner who had a message that she stuck to and pushed over and over again, I think that that really landed with folks and frankly, too, I mean, again, Amanda Atkins, someone who was, I believe, right, former Governor Brown backs campaign manager,
at one point where United States Senate race Yeah, I mean,
it's hard to say that you have nothing to do with this guy or to truly distance yourself when you actually managed his campaign like it's, I don't know, it seemed like a very, Atkins was a really big target. And I think a lot of a lot of conservatives and Republicans in Kansas really, really talked her up, but were perhaps not as conscious of some of these really big vulnerability, she
was disingenuous for Amanda Atkins to say she was not an ally of Sam Brownback. You know, you just can't hit your political career to Sam Brownback and in all manner, and then when push comes to shove, and 2022 Satan don't look over there.
She also is a Sherman Suez also disingenuous and trying to suggest that she wouldn't support a federal abortion ban. When so much of her her political career had been built on wanting to ban abortion.
Alright, just we're gonna pivot right here to the retention votes of the Kansas Supreme Court justices and Rachel's going to help us out with that. So all the Kansas Supreme Court justices were retained. I think a lot of the controversy had something to do with what rose up in the Atkins and David's race in 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court issued an opinion that affirmed the right to abortion in Kansas, even if Roe v. Wade was overturned by the US Supreme Court, which happened. So, Rachel, tell us about these justices who managed to keep their jobs.
Yeah, so we thought maybe there would be a chance that two of them specifically ones you're talking about, that voted like to uphold abortion rights in the state in 2019, we thought maybe there'd be a bit more of a blowback to that situation. But again, we are seeing this kind of this is really flood of support for like, I guess women's rights, pro choice rights, because again, it wasn't even close. I believe it was over 60% of voters like for each Supreme Court Justice steagle was also in there. He was the one who dissented in that 2019 abortion.
You're talking about Caleb steagle, a Supreme Court justice who was put on the Supreme Court by Sam Brown.
Yes, exactly. Yeah. So he was also brought back to office. I think he got, I think it was around 70%. But either way, like, it wasn't even close for all of them. Voters just sent them right back into office. The funny thing is, I was talking to two voters that side, they said that they were retaining no one because they just wanted to like up. I don't know up in this status quo. What we're seeing, I guess, is more Kansas voters wanting to know more about their Supreme Court justices.
Yeah, maybe without personal insight into what those justices do, and their work ethic and so forth. It was just a thumb their nose at them and vote no. Rachel, also, could you brief us on the outcome of this Kansas State Board of Education, which has constitutional authority over a public schools, hundreds of 1000s of kids across the state and they had an election? I think the way it works is half of the board is up for election in each election cycle. So the turnover isn't so dramatic. So what happened there?
Yeah, so basically, for midterm elections, all the odd numbers get voted on. So this year, it was 13579. And there was five open seats for that all of them got filled by Republicans, but only two of those races were competitive. It was one in three, those districts that had a Republican and a Democrat really facing off for each other. But again, we're gonna see you more, a more leaning right Board of Education for 2023.
Yeah, that's that'll be interesting. Anybody else on those this frames or the State Board of Ed Sherman, click.
I was frankly surprised, especially after the results in August, again, that there was not a more concerted or well funded effort to kick the justices off the state Supreme Court. There were a lot of rumblings about that back at the time and August and September. And I mean, there certainly, I mean, there was some money put into it. But frankly, all of the ads I saw were ones urging all of the judges to be retained.
Yeah, there was an organization established to try and they had a simple message returning In all the supreme and all the Court of Appeals, they retain everybody. We need an independent judiciary. And there really wasn't a strong rebuttal to that.
I would, I would just add that there have been campaigns similar to this in the past, organized around school funding decisions, for instance, but never in the worth roughly 70 years that we've had this process never has a Supreme Court justice lost the seat to a retention vote.
All right, we're gonna go to the lightning round here. We had a bunch of other political races that were decided Secretary stage, Scott Schwab, he's the chief elections officer defeated Democrat Sherman.
I think there's a really interesting dynamic here, particularly in the final debate, which Rachel wrote about, where we had the Democrats saying, you know, some of these election deniers, we should probably be listening a little bit more to what they have to say, and trying to meet them on their ground. And Scott Schwab effectively said, you know, screw these people, we've given them a chance to understand what's going on, and they don't want to listen. I think that's, you know, that causes, I think, a number of people to say, I feel really comfortable about who we have as a secretary of state's ability to manage an election to actually govern, you know, whether you agree with him politically or not. He is serious about running elections and running a tight ship. Yeah, the
issue there is, it's really scary to think that you have a Secretary of State who's just going to run the place like a partisan workshop. Schwab, interestingly, in the Republican primary defeated an election denier who got a bunch of votes.
That's right, that that race was actually close. And he had a decisive win, but he had to really work for it. He didn't really have to campaign much against Gina repurpose the Democrat in this race. And he wanted decisive victory here.
All right, clay, the state treasurer, Lynn Rogers, a Democrat appointed to the job by Kelly loss to state representative Steven Johnson, a moderate Republican, it wasn't terribly close.
No, and I mean, we we've also got to pour one out as it were, for Lynn Rogers here. He was the original Lieutenant Governor of Laura Kelly. So well, you know, one election with her back in 2018. She, she he was then shuffled off as it were to the State Treasurer's Office. And she brought in Dave Toland who ran with her for reelection as the Lieutenant Governor candidate. And I think Lynn Rogers, you know, Wichita area politician, well liked by a lot of folks into pico ran a good campaign, but I think this is one of those races where frankly, the DEA or the are next to the person's name makes most of the difference for people who are voting in most of the state. And, you know, Steven Johnson, again, a fairly well known and well liked guy in Topeka. And, and frankly, Treasurer is not usually an overly partisan position. I mean, oftentimes it can be a springboard to to higher office as jakela Turner did, because you get to go around and give people you know, reclaimed funds or various things like that. So we'll see what a former representative soon to be treasurer Johnson does with the role.
Rachel, I'd have you talked about insurance commissioner Vicki Schmidt, a former Topeka state senator, about that race, but I'll interrupt you and say she just clocked a Democrat candidate who didn't appear to be serious about the race. She got 63% of the vote. And Sherman has a right she had she received the most votes of any statewide candidate.
That's right. Over 600,000 votes, which is the the only candidate on the ballot anywhere who broke that number.
And to continue with you Sherman, US Senator Jerry Moran, the state's most experienced hand and DC politics defeated Democrat Mark Cullen, who portrayed Moran is dangerous. The Moran didn't to view this as a very serious threat to his political career, didn't campaign that hard and got 60% of the vote.
I think Bran was such a safe bet that the Associated Press called the race the moment the polls closed, even though Holland had more votes at that moment.
Okay. All right. Awesome. All right. Let's let's pivot to the GOP US House incumbents, three of them. They all won. Rachel, you live in Lawrence, I believe. Right. So your new congressman is Tracy man of the first district. He actually represents Dodge City and Garden City way out west. And also Lawrence. And he easily handled Jimmy beard with 68% of the vote. You know, what do you think Tracy? Man?
Oh, you know, well, one interesting thing I was gonna bring this up earlier is that if you look at most of the campaigns, we're not actually seeing too many like firm stances by the Republicans like on actual concrete goals. We're seeing Oh, I'm gonna stand up through security. I'm gonna fight crime, but we're not seeing too many again like here's what I'm gonna do ABC first days in the office plan
and Tracy man fit that mold. I think it was a specific campaign strategy by Republicans running for Congress to state these positions. Fentanyl is bad, but not describe specifically how you're going to stop people from illegally importing these drugs that are killing Americans. Clay, any thoughts about Tracy man?
Yeah, well, I wrote a column about this a couple of weeks ago when I just had the realization when we were all meeting here that I you know, I'm also a Lawrence resident, we've got this race going on for who's going to represent the biggest city now in the first district. Lawrence is the largest city in the first the whole first district, you know, who's going to represent the our interests in Washington, DC. And I mean, really, it doesn't matter whether or not the representative is Democrat or Republican. I mean, Lawrence is a large city has the kind of the flagship state university there, that representation in DC matters. And, you know, I couldn't reliably establish the Tracy man had done any campaigning in Lawrence this cycle at all that he'd shown up, I think we later learned that he may have come to town for a fundraiser. But, you know, I think, you know, this is the real issue that that happens with with gerrymandering, you know, everyone looks at the sharees David's race and what that meant, and she was still able to pull out a win, but in what happened with the first district with kind of the dilution of Lawrence's political power, you know, that could really end up hurting a town. That includes, you know, it doesn't just include Democrats. I mean, it has a lot of people in it, and it has a really important institution for the state,
right. In a second district representative Jake la Turner, who represents a district that runs from Nebraska to the Oklahoma border in eastern Kansas, he prevailed over Patrick Schmidt 58% to 42%. At the end of that Schmidt decided to robustly campaign and made a lot of allegations against law Turner. Sherman, what's your view of that race?
You know, Patrick Schmitz, has a really interesting story. Good candidate on paper, he was a US Navy intelligence officer. He, you know, he came out at the end and in this final debate cycle, kind of firing on all cylinders attacking Jake woodturner for running and hiding when the US Capitol was under siege on January 6 2001, and then voting hours later to decertify or not to certify the presidential election results. He attacked him on a wide range of issues, but it seemed like it was just too little to wait for for Patrick Schmitt, his campaign was virtually non existent until the final two weeks. And, you know, if he had found a way to engage with media engage with the public to be vocal about Jacob Turner from the start, he may have been able to make things a little more interesting, clear
eyed question for you. So Mandla Turner and Representative Ron Estes, of Wichita, they all prevailed. Ron Estes, his wife re won her legislative seat again, too. I should mention that, but in these congressional races all won by Republicans, these three, is there any point in the future where these races could be competitive with a Democratic candidate?
Well, I think if you if you just look at the margins and the left Turner Schmidt race, I think, you know, as Sherman was just saying, there's, I think there's really potential for Democrats there. And frankly, I think in the first district, given the way that you continue to have population growth in the northeast corner of the state, and frankly, population declines in the western part of the state that you could, you could easily see a candidate from Lawrence, let's say a Democrat from Lawrence run in the first district and perhaps not win, but certainly make someone like Tracy man work for it. Sherman,
I think it's worth repeating the all of these congressional districts were heavily gerrymandered with the deliberates or the singular goal of running Cerise David's out of Congress. Not only did it not work for Cerise, David's But Republicans at at a minimum, weaken their position in the second district. And in the first where, as Clay says the if you had a strong popular candidate from Lawrence, you know, they would be able to make things interesting, especially several college towns and then districts. But even if they they don't, I think it's worth noting, too, that you have a situation where people in Lawrence are represented by the same congressman, as people who live along the Colorado border, and that is a problem for democracy, no matter what happens.
Yeah, the map in Kansas got pretty weird. All right, the Kansas legislature will remain quite conservative Republicans narrowly retain their supermajority in the in the Kansas house, that means a two thirds advantage over Democrats. And so in strictly partisan terms, the Republicans in the House and the Senate will be able to override vetoes by Governor Laura Kelly, the Senate wasn't up for reelection, they will be in 2024. And they also have a supermajority. So the numbers in the Senate are 29, Republicans, 11 Democrats, and at this stage, Democrats may have picked up one seat in the house. And the split, if it holds, will be 85 Republicans and 40. Democrats. Sherman, what do you make up the legislation more of the same? Or do you expect much difference there?
are Republicans over the past four years have nots given more or Kelly much credits, and I think that they would probably continue to underestimate her. All you need is one or two Republicans who are willing to take a stand on any particular issue to make a difference. And the Senate has a little bit more breathing room. But, you know, you look at a situation like where we have with senators pile now who is already had been stripped of prime committee seats because of his willingness to book the authority. During this past session. After the governor's race being I stopped by the party, you know, he could really make a difference on some votes as well.
Yeah, just back up to Dennis Pyle. He's a state senator from Hiawatha, and to run as an independent he had to disavow the Republican Party, but certainly now he'll re register as a Republican, and we'll be in the State Senate. And so there's probably some people in the Kansas Senate that don't appreciate what his role potential role in Derek Schmitz lost in the governor's race. Clay, any thoughts about the upcoming 23 legislative session? I think Governor Laura Kelly said one of the first things she wants to do, and they have the money to do this, instead of having a three year rollback of the state's sales tax on groceries, she wants to intermediate into that six and a half percent sales tax on food. And we'll see what the legislature does with that.
Yeah, I mean, I think that if you look at what the politics were in the last session about the food tax, largely, it was driven by an attempt to not give Laura Kelly a political win ahead of her re election of reelection bid, while still allowing Republicans running for re election in the House and Senate to say, Oh, we did something now that she actually has won reelection, I think she may indeed have a good case. And perhaps the legislature would go along with it to lower that sales tax on food more quickly, because, you know, she already has the second term. So you know, it may there may not be much, much for anyone to lose at that point. I would also expect the Medicaid expansion comes up again in some way, even if she's just even if she's the only one talking
to she's howling in the forest on that one, the Republicans are gonna go for it. But in terms of tax reform, and the food sales tax, I would not be surprised if Republicans in the House and Senate want a package that elimination, the food sales tax, with other tax reform measures that Laura Kelly might have to swallow in order to get this food tax done. She will want a clean bill on food tax. But Sherman?
Yeah, this has been the issue in the past or extremists attacked her at times for vetoing a bill three years ago that had a provision that would have lowered the sales tax on food. It also had, I think, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts for multinational corporations. And so you would expect some sort of give and take on this process? There's no, no possibility. I think that they just simply say, Okay, here's the bill with nothing in it, except immediately lowering the sales tax on food. We do have a new consensus revenue estimate that says there's about $1.2 billion in excess funding that were previously accounted for coming in. And her budget director immediately said, This is why we can afford to get rid of the sales tax. And we could do it as soon as April.
Just to clarify on the state revenue forecasts, it's an estimate. Are you talking about an extra 1.2 billion in the current fiscal year, which we're halfway through? Or do you mean the subsequent fiscal year that starts next July one?
Yeah, for clarity, it's another 800 million in the current fiscal year, which ends in about eight, nine months, and then a 400 million overflow for the following year.
Okay, good. Lots of money, lots of money to spend. It's good to be a legislature legislator when you get to spend money as opposed to cutting it. Also on the ballot were two proposed constitutional amendments. The amendment affirming sheriffs must be elected while the county will be exempt from this passed overwhelmingly, Rachel, what are the key points of that change that are to be embedded in the state constitution?
Well, first of all, I really feel like there's a lot of misinformation surrounding that one because what we're seeing is everything about protecting the rights of people to elect their sheriff's that's not really been in question. The more interesting bit is a second part of that, which is now since it passed, local district attorneys can investigate their local sheriffs now that you either get the Attorney General to investigate or you have a recall election. So this is not great in areas where see, because again, if just the Attorney General has the power to investigate, that means he can like turn down or like you know, I don't One investigate this or will investigate this before, pretty much any district attorney could start the procedure. So we have a lot more accountability, I think, a lot more transparency. And I think in the future, this is going to be harder to see. I mean, if you look at the background of this, it was kind of started up with the, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office really where there's been some controversy surrounding Hayden. And we're seeing that kind of play out on a larger scale right now. Like the only other important bit of this, I think, is before the election, we were seeing really misleading information. The Johnson County's official Facebook page for the Sheriff's Department said that like, you'd vote on this, you got to vote yes. And you must pass it just to protect your rights, protect your local sheriff's. And again, I just think it's been a lot of misinformation around this.
Yeah. Just to clarify on that the what, right now, a county attorney could request an investigation of a sheriff who perhaps was engaged in misconduct. And that and also the Attorney General's office could could step into that. But also there's a public mechanism through a referendum. You can get enough petition signatures. It's a very high number and a high threshold. But you could, you could go after a sheriff that way. Now we're going to have the petition measure and the AGs office will be able to step in Sherman. I'm uncomfortable with limited to this to the Ag because very often Attorney General's rely heavily on the endorsement of law enforcement sheriffs across the country. There's, there's 104 of them out there. And you prove to the voters you're a law and order guy by getting the endorsement of sheriffs what Attorney General wants to make the sheriff community angry by trying to oust them.
And I think, you know, it's worth noting, we saw maybe an unprecedented number of blue uniforms and campaign ads this year for that specific reason. So there is a conflict of interest there for the attorney general. But also, just as a practical matter, you have one guy in charge of investigating 104 sheriffs across the state. You know, that's just not very practical. And it's, as Rachel mentioned, this is on the ballot for one specific reason. And that is because Republicans wanted to protect Sheriff Calvin Hayden and Johnson County who's running around talking about non existent voting fraud and wanting to, you know, bus to the schools together in Lawrence and deploying his private army of goons to take on the IRS.
Yeah, he basically threatened you know, if the IRS agents came in to do their jobs in Johnson County, he just might line up his soldiers with guns. It was just a reckless statement, which of course, he's not going to do but it kind of gives you an idea why the county commissioners and Johnson County were examining the possibility of having an appoint of system for the sheriff's office clay.
Oh, I was just going to say it's, I mean, this is just an example of while you know, if you looked at election results across the nation, a lot of election deniers running for various races lost. You know, this is not by any means. The end of this story in Kansas of people who claim that elections are rigged are people people who are spreading conspiracy theories. I mean, the mere fact that this amendment got on the ballot to protect Calvin Hayden the way that it did with overwhelming support in the Kansas legislature, the fact that was written in such a way to get a very large margin of support from Kansas voters. I mean, that is going to give just aid and support for an indefinite period to somebody who's really spreading some very destructive and corrosive ideas in Kansas. There's a
second amendment on the ballot, which appears to have failed very close voting here. It would have granted the legislature more authority to veto or sideline rules and regulations written by the executive branch. Clearly, this was a bid to undercut the Kelly administration. Well, Rachel, what do you think about this, it looks like to me voters were reluctant to give a one of the CO equal branches of government extra power.
I actually saw the opposite. It was really close. And I camped out at one of the polling places just ask people what they thought. Most of them were thought it was more fair to shift the vows towards the legislature, I think, again, is just like, learning to like, you just have to read it very closely, because I thought the language on that was also a little misleading. And it was again, I think, a pretty clear attempt by Republicans to take more power back and if like, Governor Laura Kelly came back to power, I think that's what they're betting on.
Okay. We, I think what we want to do here is shift and just go around the table and let's talk about things that were odd or quirky, or really stick out in your mind and terms of the 22 election cycle. Sherman, you want to go first?
Well, I think about a moment that I thought was amusing at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchison in early September. And just to set the scene a little former congressman Samuels camp was connected to a series of texts that went out right before the vote on the constitutional amendment on abortion in early August for that primary. These were texts that were sent deliberately to Democrats that flipped what a yes and a no vote meant an intentional way to try to get them to vote the wrong way. Washington Post immediately connected this to Tim Huelskamp. Although he later denied it at the state fair, because he had refused to, you know, respond to inquiries about this. Somebody pointed out that he was sitting in the stands, so I turned around with my camera to try to take a photo of them. And as I did, I saw Eric Paul's, the campaign manager for Derrick Smith basically take a nosedive in front of me into the dirt. And I realized later that the reason was, as he told me, he could not be seen in a photo with Tim fuels camp. Eric calls it a help to run the Roger Marshall campaign and Marshall to accuse camp out of the Republican primary in 2016. Could point
Yeah, gosh, I don't know why. Tim Huelskamp is a former congressman and former state senator, I got no idea why he's behaving the way he is in just trying to be so dishonest with with the voters. It's just you can't win on the merits. I guess you just cheat. Clay. Any thoughts?
Yeah, I mean, I we you know, we've kind of touched on this up to here. But I think there's a a real aspect that you saw in the elections in Kansas this year, where female candidates were whether through simple ignorance on the part of people who are watching or perhaps more malign reasons, these female candidates were underestimated, you know, across the board, Laura Kelly, constantly, you know, there was always a belief that, you know, she lucked into the office the first time around, because independent Greg Orman was also running. And, you know, siphon votes is thought she would never be able to be an effective governor, there was thought she would never be able to run an effective reelection campaign while she won. Likewise, Sharif, David's, again, someone who was elected in 2018, the feeling the instant that we change the districts, she's going to go down, you know, and yet she also showed herself to be a very disciplined and effective campaigner. And then, you know, and to me, I think, I think back to August, again, when we had this abortion vote, and it was everyone thought it was going to be super close, super tight. And instead, you know, preserving abortion rights won by an 18 percentage point margin. So I think just across the board in Kansas, politicians have underestimated, you know, female voters and female candidates, you know, at their peril. Yeah, absolutely.
I think it's just funny how many loose ends we still have in this campaign. Like we're still like, we can't even predict all the results. As of right now. There's a lot of stuff coming in. I mean, in the attorney general's race itself, even though the EP called it for Kris Kobach, Chris man has not yet conceded, which I thought was a little interesting. I talked to these campaign people yesterday, and they're waiting till the mail in votes and the provisional ballots come in. But all Masterman was saying earlier, it's kind of a reversal of what we usually see that on more more Republican candidates usually refused to call it that soon.
Yeah, that's a tight race. It's, you know, you put so much emotion and time and effort into these races. It's hard to let go sometimes. The thing that I want to bring up is a mailer that came to my house. And it's this little postcard printing on both sides. And the front side says it has a pictures of five the US Supreme Court justices US Supreme Court justice isn't it says it took just five anti choice justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. And it also says but Kansas push back and said no, and what they're referring to is the rejection by Kansas voters in August of the constitutional amendment that would have said that women don't have a right to particular healthcare involving abortion. Then you turn it around, and it says, When you vote Tuesday, vote no. On the Kansas Supreme on the retention votes for the Kansas Supreme Court justices vote no. At let them hear you again, if you understand what I'm saying they're conflating the US Supreme Court with the Kansas Supreme Court and the no vote on the August constitutional amendment with a no vote on a retention of the Kansas Supreme Court justices. This is a completely bogus mailer. And the people who did this should be ashamed. So that's my two cents worth there, Sherman.
Is that a bonus observation to make before we go here, because there's a state meant that Eric Schmidt put out after he lost the election when he conceded. And I would just like to point out that, you know, this is somebody who joined a frivolous lawsuit to challenge the the presidential election of Joe Biden. His communications director, CJ Grover told me in May of 2021, that they were gonna make this campaign all about critical race theory. As we've mentioned before, he talked about how Laura Kelly is a socialist, I think he may have mentioned that 20 times in the state fair debate, he brought in a swimmer from Kentucky who was upset about tying for fifth place with a transgender athletes as part of his attack on transgender students in Kansas. He talked about Laura Kelly being just like Joe Biden, all of these just kind of hot button culture war kind of issues. And then when he lost the race, he put out a statement that said, he's really disappointed that he wasn't able to make the race all about these issues that actually matter to Kansas. And then he listed off a bunch of things that he never talked about, he talked about, he mentioned in the statement, our migration of Kansans, the need to protect our water resources, the need for infrastructure upgrades, these archaic structures that we have in Kansas, again, all very important issues that he never talked about. And he blamed the mass communication for this. And so I would just make the point as well that this was a campaign unlike really just about any other major party campaign for governor that I've seen where he rarely provided any access to news reporters about where he was going to be, or the ability to ask him direct questions. We could go two or three times a week to wherever Laura Kelly was going to be at and ask her questions face to face that she would answer. We didn't get that opportunity with Derek Schmidt. So when he's complaining about these issues, I just wonder what the hell is he talking about?
Or goodness, and this lay? And I would just
add one more point, please don't rehearse like Norman done,
which is simply that too often, you know, I think this happens for reporters, I think this happens for colonists. This happens for the general public, we see politics as a thing that happens, it is an individual, it's a separate force that just kind of floats out there. Oh, this is what's happening with politics, when in reality, politics are just the choices that people make, that candidates make, that voters make, and politicians have the ability to make better choices. They have the ability to talk about certain things and not talk about other things. They're not driven to do things they decided to. And in as much as we had a campaign that was about certain things. That's because Derek Schmidt chose to make it that way. That's because Laura Kelly chose to make it another way. And then voters rendered their verdict.
Yeah, just seem a bit like whining when you have millions of dollars and the bully pulpit and you complain about not getting your message out. That's not anybody else's fault, except the campaign's I think we're gonna have to leave it there, everyone. Thanks. Thanks to everyone for participating today. And I should remind you to buckle up because the 2024 election cycle started Wednesday.