Here are my predictions with comments in selected races for Tuesday’s elections. Do not mistake these for endorsements.
Let’s start with Missouri first, where my confidence level is not too great. I believe both major issues will go down to defeat. The first is the three-quarter cent sales tax hike for highways and bridges. It strikes me as asking for too much at once, even though I-70 is perilous.
As for the streetcar expansion, the polls show it close. But with the highway tax on the same ballot (I know, the streetcar is not a tax issue…yet), some may perceive it as a double whammy. Tax overload, plus the fact that the poor would eventually carry much of the burden for this expansion is enough to kill it.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) will trounce his tea party opposition, Milton Wolf, with at least 58 percent of the vote. The “liberal” label does not stick with conservative Roberts, and Wolf is being investigated for a possible medical ethics violation.
True, Roberts has not come home a lot and has no real home in Kansas. And he has been in Washington a long time. But his goodwill throughout Kansas will carry him handily.
A no-name, token Republican candidate for Kansas governor would normally result in 80 percent for the Republican incumbent, Sam Brownback. However, Jennifer Winn could hold Brownback to just 69 percent, due to a Republican protest over Brownback’s policies.
The ding will be enough to make Brownback nervous about his November race.
Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, will easily win over his token Republican opposition, Scott Morgan, but with only 65 percent. The controversial politician will have a much tougher fight in November.
There may be an upset brewing in the race for Johnson County Chairman. Incumbent Ed Eilert will win one of the two spots easily. He has the name recognition and a fiscally conservative track record. He will win one spot with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Veteran County Commissioner Ed Peterson will get knocked out in this first round by outsider Patricia Lightner. Peterson carries the northeast, as well as liberals everywhere; Lightner carries Olathe and brings along very conservative voters throughout the county. The right beats the left, especially in a low turnout election.
No big surprise, but incumbent Jason Osterhaus will easily triumphfor County Commissioner, fourth district. He is a conservative in a conservative district. No call on second place.
Ron Shaffer will come out on top in his first district County Commission primary. Because he has been mayor of Prairie Village, that gives him a leg up on his opponents. In this five-way race, Laura McConwell, former mayor of Mission, seems to be the favorite for the other spot, although conservative Rachel Sciolaro is favored by many to win second place. Shaffer we’re sure about. The other spot is a tough one to call.
Two state representatives from Johnson County, Barbara Bollier and Stephanie Clayton, will be victorious over their ultra-conservative opponents, who are backed by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, the very conservative Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other right-wing groups who have sent a withering blizzard of attack mailers.
The right wants to eliminate any moderate Republicans, which they almost did in 2012. However, these two candidates represent moderate districts, so they will prevail.
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