Davis run gaining traction


January 11, 2014 - 12:00 AM

A donation of $250 to a gubernatorial campaign usually isn’t headline news, but that Tim Emert, Independence attorney and former Republican state senator, made such a contribution to Rep. Paul Davis is.
Davis has a lock on the Democratic nomination for governor, just as incumbent Sam Brownback has for the GOP nomination.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Davis had raised $1 million for his campaign, much less than Brownback has at his disposal, but a significant sum in a state where Democrats make up about a quarter of registered voters.
Support for Davis gives his campaign financial credibility that flies in the face of Republicans, known for being able to raise funds almost at a snap of their fingers in Kansas, particularly when an incumbent is involved.
Brownback’s campaign guru, David Kensinger, downplayed Davis’ fundraising success, but $1 million raised in a couple of months isn’t anything to sneeze at.
Davis’ support shows his message is resonating. And, Emert’s support is noteworthy, given that he was majority leader in the Senate and also led the Kansas Board of Regents as its chairman.
Emert’s was a voice of reason and moderation in Topeka, and he continues to be a go-to source of advice within the political spectrum for all things affecting Kansas and its future.
His support of Davis also is significant, individually and because Emert is one of dozens of his party who have signed on to support Traditional Republicans for Common Sense. The group contends taxes should be equitable and adequate to fund education at all levels, as well as social programs and other state responsibilities.
The GOP renegades — as they’re viewed by today’s conservative Republicans — also think that state tax policy has pandered to the wealthy, which has shifted tax burdens to lower levels of government — counties, cities and school districts — where revenue generation through property and sales taxes straps the poor and middle-income wage earners.
An interesting aspect of what Traditional Republicans want is that it meshes with Davis’ platform. He said at the get-go Kansas is obligated to educate children and meet the needs of all citizens.
The Lawrence attorney and House minority leader can be expected to hammer away in his campaign at Brownback’s funding cuts to education, his rejection of federal support that would have opened Medicaid assistance to many thousands of poor Kansans and the tax shift that seems to promise to widen the gap even more between those at the very top of the financial pyramid and everyone else.
Rep. Davis’ success will depend on attracting Republican and independent voters to his side, an outcome that appears to be unfolding.

—Bob Johnson

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