By MARTIN HAWVER
Kansas Republicans made it clear last weekend that they are making a real push to get those suburban “soccer moms” on their side, at least at the general election, while Congressional District 3 primary contestants are wondering whether they can reclaim that congressional seat from a Democrat.
It’s all in the under-the-sheets politics, a convention of Kansans who are actively involved in the party and winning elections and trying to find that issue or candidate who can make sure Republicans continue to run the state and possibly the nation.
The Olathe convention—the annual state GOP gathering rotates among the four congressional districts—drew hundreds from border to border and some who were obviously worried they might not make it home in time to watch the Super Bowl.
But the key is electing Republicans for this crowd. It’s that simple.
Everyone is after those women voters, whom Republicans have lost to Democrats in the 3rd District especially, but across the state. And that focus is on finding the issue or two which will have those women stop off to vote a Republican ticket after dropping the kids at school.
That District 3? The prosperous, high-density Kansas Johnson/Wyandotte and a dab of Miami counties is now held by Native American/openly LGBT Democrat U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., who beat white male four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., in 2018 by 8 percent, or 46,000 votes.
Do Republicans go with former Kansas Republican Party Chair Amanda Adkins, who is on leave from Cerner Corp., or former Roeland Park Mayor Adrienne Foster, whose grandparents migrated – legally, she notes – from Mexico, or less politically involved former President/CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society Sara Hart Weir?
It’s a race among women in a district that has elected Republican women in the recent past, Jan Meyers from 1985-1997, then a male Democrat, Dennis Moore, from 1999-2011.
But is race an issue here? Foster says she can bring thousands of Mexican-American votes to the GOP, especially from Wyandotte County, to turn the seat back to Republican.
It’s a race to watch for the GOP nomination, and it’s also a monitor of whether GOP voters are willing to step outside the traditional voter bloc to win back a House seat.
Also at the convention, it was nearly all anti-abortion from the lips of candidates for their party’s nomination—support for that proposed constitutional amendment that if voted out of the Kansas House this week will put that measure on the same ballot as those primary election candidates.
Is anti-abortion the key here? Are those suburban women the GOP is scrambling to collect willing on the same ballot to reject their constitutional right to make their own decision on abortion that the Kansas Supreme Court has proclaimed belongs to them and them alone, and elect candidates who want to limit that decision?
It’s the female vote that Republicans are after in most districts, and while there are many general conservative government issues that those GOP primary candidates are going to be to hawking to men and women, the vote on that proposed constitutional amendment to strike the right guaranteed to women by that “non-elected court” and handing it to elected legislators is going to be decisive in many districts.
That citizen right through the “power of the vote” to elect anti-abortion or abortion-rights lawmakers who can make laws to restrict or even prohibit abortion is surely one of the keys to many of those suburban mom Republican votes, which may define the GOP primary winners.
We’ll see how the strategy works…
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com