Brownback jumps in to help conservatives against moderates in Republican primary
Topeka — Gov. Sam Brownback is endorsing some so-called conservative Republican legislative candidates who face so-called moderate Republicans in the Aug. 7 primary.
"Because of the alliance in the state Senate between Democrats and some Republicans that join together to promote a Democrat agenda, the primary election has effectively become the general. Therefore, I am going to be involved in a limited number of primaries," Brownback said in a statement.
The statement was released Thursday by his spokesperson Sherriene Jones-Sontag. She said she did not have a list of the candidates that Brownback has endorsed.
Brownback has been in England this week attending the Farnborough International Airshow.
Brownback and his allies, such as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, want to put the Senate under conservative leadership, like the House. During the past legislative session, a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Senate fought Brownback and conservative Republicans over redistricting, tax cuts and other issues. The impasse over redistricting led to court-drawn districts.
On Thursday, a group of 50 former legislators called Traditional Republicans for Common Sense criticized Brownback's politicking.
"It’s astonishing to see a governor who is more interested in politics than policy, more interested in elections than governing,” said Rochelle Chronister, who has served as assistant House Republican leader and chair of the Kansas Republican Party.
“Gov. Brownback may want a rubber-stamp majority in the Legislature, but I think Kansans will have something to say about that on Election Day. Kansans want their elected officials to do what’s best for their communities, their schools, the elderly and their children,” Chronister said.
Traditional Republicans for Common Sense have been highly critical of Brownback signing into law a massive tax cut. Critics say the tax cut will mostly benefit wealthy Kansans while bankrupting schools and social services. Brownback has said the tax cut will spur the economy.