And will an un-elected Democrat Secretary of State give Republican candidates the run around?
State Representative Bill Light
State Representative Bill Light withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the Kansas House May 12. Light was facing a strong conservative challenge in the August primary by Dan Widder of Ulysses.
In a Hutchinson News article, Light claimed that his retirement had nothing to do with his conservative challenger, even claiming that he didn’t know Widder. However, the article notes that Light filed for re-election in January and told the Hutchinson News in November that he liked to file in January before the start of a legislative session, “so that all will know my intentions.”
When contacted, Widder stated that he had attended a legislative coffee a few weeks ago where he questioned Light about the upcoming budget debate. While he didn’t disclose his planned challenge to Light, he said that Light certainly knew who he was.
So apparently something happened during this legislative session that changed Light’s mind about serving another term. That something, I believe, is Light’s realization that voting for a massive tax increase and facing a serious conservative challenger meant his chances at winning another term were little to none.
When asked about Light’s withdraw, Widder reiterated that it changed nothing as far as he is concerned.
“I don’t plan to do anything differently,” Widder stated.
In his bid to be placed on the ballot, Widder and campaign volunteers collected the signatures of more than 175 registered Republicans in his district. Widder stated that he contacted the Kansas Secretary of State’s office prior to beginning to collect signatures and asked what the procedures were for being placed on the ballot via petition. Widder’s campaign then collected the signatures and submitted them to the Sec. of State’s office.
However the Sec. of State rejected the petitions stating that they needed to be signed by the volunteers that collected the signatures, according to Widder. So he directed all volunteers that collected signatures to sign the petition and resubmitted it to the Sec. of State’s office.
Once again, Widder said, the petition was rejected. This time another contact in the Sec. of State’s office said that each page of the petition needed to be signed on the back with the volunteer that collected those signatures. Widder stated that he simply put all the signatures together into one petition and had all volunteers sign together. Further, the Sec. of State’s office claimed that volunteers should have only signed and dated the petition after collecting all of the signatures. Due to time constraints and lack of communication with the Sec. of State’s office, Widder elected to file by fee.
Widder claimed that he made numerous phone calls to the Sec. of State’s office before beginning to collect signatures and at no time did anyone detail to him that volunteers must sign the back of each petition page they collected. Widder said each time he called he seemed to get a different reason why he couldn’t file via petition.
The Sec. of State’s office is currently being held by un-elected Democrat Chris Biggs. Biggs is one of five Democrats holding statewide office that were not elected but rather appointed by either former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius or current Gov. Mark Parkinson. Both Sebelius and Parkinson appointed only Democrats, regardless of the party affiliation of the previous office holder.
And as this Kansas Liberty article notes, Bigg’s appointment also means that the state’s three person canvassing board is now held entirely by unelected Democrats. The board is tasked with verifying the state’s election results.
The 124th House district may be a template for the rest of the state and a significant sign of how the August elections may pan out. Gov. Parkinson and other Democrats claim that they will be rewarded for raising taxes on Kansas families, but Light’s withdraw seems to indicate that liberal Democrats and Republicans know otherwise.
Democrat Dennis Moore also withdrew for re-election this year after voting in favor of national health care and multiple bailouts. The two situations are eerily similar.