Wednesday, August 25, 2004

August 27: Republican civil war

University of Kansas political science professor Burdett Loomis and Republican state legislators Bill Kassebaum and Tom Sloan join us for the hour.

Sloan and Kassebaum are both incumbents and moderate Republicans who faced conservative challengers in their August 3 primaries. Kassebaum lost his primary, while Sloan won his. (Primary election results here.) Sloan and Shari Weber, the conservative candidate who beat Kassebaum, do not face Democratic challengers in the November 2 general election.

The split between Kansas moderate and conservative Republicans has gotten more national attention as it's gotten more heated. The split is discussed at length in Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas, the topic of last week's program. National groups, seeking to influence the results of Kansas moderate vs. conservative matchups, poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into such races, although lax campaign finance disclosure laws in Kansas prevent voters from knowing for certain how much of that money came from Kansans and how much came from out-of-state.

Kassebaum is the son of Nancy Kassebaum Baker, a popular Kansas Republican Senator, and the grandson of Alf Landon, a Republican governor of Kansas who ran unsuccessfully for President in 1936. Two years ago, he beat then-incumbent Weber, the conservative who won this year's Kansas House of Representatives District 68 Republican primary. A documentary, Bill's Run, was made by brother Richard Kassebaum about that 2002 race.

Sloan has represented District 45, which includes most of west Lawrence, since 1995. He serves on the House Higher Education Committee.

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