Not All of Democrat Candidate's GOP Supporters Really Are Republicans

Saturday, 19 Jul 2014 04:42 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Kansas Democrat Paul Davis' gubernatorial campaign isn't quite getting the GOP support it touted, as some of the endorsements it unveiled from a group called the Republicans for Kansas Values turn out to have left the party.

The campaign announced that it had endorsements from 104 moderate Republicans, reports Politico. However, one Republican on the list, former Kansas Republican Rep. Jan Meyers, said she had never agreed to back Davis and instead supports GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

Further, another person on the endorsement list, Cynthia Yulich, a former county board of education member, has been registered as a Democrat or an independent since 2008.

Three more supporters, former state Sen. David Wysong, state Rep. Bill Otto, and former state Rep. Ray Cox, all told Politico that they have become registered independents.

Wysong said he became an independent because "the Republican Party has left me in the state of Kansas."

And Cox said he left the party years ago because he did not like it anymore. He had served for 14 years in the state legislature, staying until 2006.

Otto told Politico that he considers himself to be a "Bob Dole Republican," but believes his party has moved "so far to the right I do not feel welcome."

Republicans for Kansas Values and the Davis campaign have also come under fire since the endorsement announcement, after it was revealed that the campaign funded the organization but did not include a disclaimer in its official endorsement announcement. The campaign admitted its error, which is a violation of Kansas election law, on Thursday.

On Friday, Davis spokesman Chris Pumpelly said the campaign is honored to have support of people who want to restore common sense, moderate leadership to Kansas when asked about the independents.

And Wink Winter, a former Republican state senator who organized the effort for Davis, dismissed the criticism and said Brownback was using the issue as a "smokescreen."

Further, Winter said everyone in Republicans for Kansas Values had served the state while they were still Republicans.

In addition, there are still several GOP moderates on the list who support Davis including three former state Senate presidents; three former state House speakers; and Sandy Praeger, the Kansas insurance commissioner.

Public polls show Brownback has angered moderate Republicans by forcing through conservative measures, which could give Davis a bipartisan advantage going into the election.

Kansas Republican Party Executive Director Clayton Barker said Davis' GOP endorsers reflect the "old guard" and none are running this year as Republicans themselves.

"Unquestionably, it will be a tough election, and Brownback gets criticism from both wings of the Republican Party — the more moderate and the more conservative,” Barker said. However, he doesn't believe even moderates will switch to endorse Davis.

And the former Republicans who are "tends to be an older group that has no political future,” Barker said. “They are done with their political life, most of them.”

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