If campaign warchests were the main criteria, it would look like a Davis vs. Goliath contest for governor next year.
Incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, reported $439,137 cash on hand on Dec. 31, 2011, according to campaign finance reports. One year later, by Dec. 31, 2012, he had $518,349 cash on hand for the next election.
By contrast, Democrat Paul Davis, the House minority leader from Lawrence, had not filed any campaign finance statements yet for the governor’s race. Initial reports are not expected to be due for some time. Davis has appointed a treasurer for his campaign for governor, and he has a website that says he plans to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks.
The half-million dollar Brownback advantage along with an incumbent’s traditional edge at the polls could be enough to make all other candidates hesitate. While former Mayor Joe Reardon also might have been a good candidate for the Democrats, his announcement that he was re-entering the private practice of law seemed to indicate that he is unlikely to run and may not want to seek a position in public life right now. However, he has made a few public appearances in recent months, including speaking at the Cerner ribbon-cutting along with Gov. Brownback, and like everyone else, has months to consider any future runs for office.
A Davis vs. Goliath contest doesn’t mean that Goliath would automatically win. While ahead in fundraising, Brownback could face serious challenges from coalitions formed in the social service areas and education areas that have experienced state budget cuts. Davis recently criticized Brownback’s economic plan, saying it hasn’t worked, and also Brownback’s support of the new judicial selection process.
Besides Brownback and Davis, potential gubernatorial candidates who have named treasurers include Tresa McAlhaney, Bonner Springs, seeking the Libertarian nomination; and Keen Umbehr, an attorney from Alma, Kan., who is running as a Libertarian.
McAlhaney, who works in Leavenworth, was born in Topeka and went to school in Lawrence and Johnson County, is for limited taxation and spending, for outsourcing work, and for sustainability, according to her campaign statement. She’s also for equal rights and against prosecuting victimless crimes, according to her statement.
Umbehr, a Libertarian from Alma, Kan., has appointed a campaign treasurer, and according to his campaign website, has advocated free speech rights in the past. He wants governmental accountability, transparency, a simplified, single-rate income tax, and a cap on property tax, according to his website. He also ran for the Kansas House in 2012 in a three-person Republican primary.
Yes, it is very early to be talking about the primary next August and the general election in November 2014, but it also is what’s behind a lot of the current stances that are being taken on issues.
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