Red State Kansas Going Blue, Gov. Brownback Losing

The governor who would be king, Sam Brownback, had a grand experiment. Kansas was his alpha test of a government-so-small-you-can-drown-it-in-the-bathtub. The plan for him was to leap from Kansas to president of the US. Oops.

That experiment failed, not just badly but abysmally – to the point that there is a very good chance he will lose his race for a second term as governor. At this late date, he is running behind his opponent, the Democratic leader of the state House, Paul David (D) between four and five percent. Brownback is more than nervous.

Why should Brownback matter? The way Kansas goes, so goes the nation. And long-time US Senator, Pat Roberts (R) is behind Greg Orman (I) a full 10 points according to an NBC/Marist poll released this weekend shows.

Part of Brownback’s problem is that he has made some enemies as he tried to mold Kansas into a stepping stone to the White House. And now those enemies are standing up for the state. The teachers were not very happy when he ended their tenure protection. The director of legislative and political advocacy of the Kansas branch of the National Education Association Mark Desetti said,

 “There’s a lot of momentum. There are a lot of people who are seeing Gov. Brownback as very, very vulnerable, and with good reason.”

And then Brownback performed a coup and ousted most of the moderate Republicans from state congress. Imagine his surprise when 100 Republicans publicly got together and announced their support for Davis. In the great experiment the governor killed the income tax. All of the new jobs and revenue increases failed to materialize. Then the credit agencies downgraded Kansas’ bond ratings three times.

We may be a red state, but we have had our share of Democrat governors. And we are fairly no-nonsense. Dan Watkins, a former executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party says,

“Kansans have a history of throwing out one-term Republican governors that they think weren’t paying attention or went too far. The level of dissatisfaction with each of those governors is nothing compared to what’s happening with Sam Brownback.”’

Our budget shortfall, which is the predicted difference between what the state is taking in and our budget. That means for 2016 we are about $260 million short. That’s a real problem, because unlike the federal government, states cannot have a budget deficit.

Kansas may be red, but it isn’t stupid.