Here in my state of Oregon the lunatic Christian fringe took over the Republican Party several years ago. As a result with the exception of Senator Gordon Smith they have not won a state wide office in years. Smith won his Senate race by managing to convince enough Oregonians he was a moderate, with the help of the statewide paper, The Oregonian. This is not to surprising in a blue leaning left coast state but it is a bit of a surprise that it's happening in Kansas.
Trounced at Polls, Kansas GOP Is Still Plagued by Infighting
Party Puts Ousted Official In His Opponent's Old Post
CHICAGO, Dec. 29 -- Phill Kline is not one to slink away -- and the ideological wars inside the Kansas Republican Party show no sign of ending.So the bat shit crazy wingnuts won't give up even after getting trounced in the 2006 elections.
The fiercely antiabortion Republican attorney general in Kansas lost his reelection bid in November when moderate Republicans voted in droves for Paul Morrison, a longtime Johnson County district attorney who became a Democrat in hopes of vanquishing Kline.
Statewide, Kline got barely 4 in 10 votes. In Johnson County, the state's most populous county, his loss was more dramatic. That made it especially shocking after the election when Republican precinct leaders in the county chose Kline to finish the final two years of Morrison's term as prosecutor.
Given the defeats in Kansas of religious conservatives such as Kline, U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun (R) and some members of the State Board of Education, one Kansas political analyst expected the GOP "would be ready to mend fences and move forward."The result has been that moderate Republicans are leaving the party and voting for Democrats.
But that has not yet happened.
"I think the divide between the moderates and conservatives is deepening rather than closing," said Kansas State University professor Joseph Aistrup. "This type of politics is continuing into our future, at least another four years."
Kansas Democrats and moderate Republicans fought back this year. In the midterm elections, Democrat Nancy Boyda stunned five-term incumbent Ryun, while moderate Republicans Morrison and his friend Mark Parkinson, a former chairman of the Kansas GOP, changed parties and easily won statewide office.I always thought the religious wingnuttery would run it's course. We have seen it before and it's usually good for a generation or less. The Democrats can take advantage of that shift if they keep militant atheists like me in the closet.
Morrison and Parkinson, the incoming lieutenant governor, were both recruited by Sebelius and both came from Johnson County, where moderates say they are particularly fed up with Kline, 46, a gregarious former scholarship wrestler and radio announcer.
Morrison outpolled Kline 65 percent to 35 percent in the traditionally Republican county.