Kansas voters saw Gov. Sam Brownback and challenger Paul Davis both in good form at times during a debate Saturday morning at the State Fair in Hutchinson.
Brownback did a decent job defending some parts of his record — pension reform and support of energy supplies.
(UPDATED 6:30 p.m. Saturday) But the governor failed miserably in talking about his support for K-12 education, which has not provided nearly as much financial assistance for Kansas classrooms during his term as he claims. (Here’s a Star editorial explaining the mess Brownback has caused for schools, partly with his excessive tax breaks.)
On another topic, Brownback was especially misleading in saying Kansas counties in the Kansas City area are gaining three times more jobs than Missouri-side counties are. That’s a lie.
Davis had a so-so performance, but a great summary at the end, talking about how he’d be independent voice for Kansans. Davis also was effective in talking about his support for education funding.
Davis also accurately noted that the Brownback “experiment” has drained Kansas of too much revenue, especially through costly income tax cuts. He said the governor’s policies have put the state in “debt, debt, debt.”
Davis got in a few zingers, including where he pointed out that the last person Brownback supported for president (Texas Gov. Rick Perry) “is under indictment.”
Brownback talked way too much about trying to link “Obama” and “Nancy Pelosi” to Davis.
The governor also repeatedly ducked the question of whether he would get rid of the renewable energy standard. “Get a bill to my desk” is not an answer.
And the governor definitely misled people by talking about how the state was so fiscally “healthy” under his stewardship. Huh? The state finished with a $300 million revenue shortfall compared to estimates in the last fiscal year.
But Brownback did do well in defending the pick of his pal, Caleb Stegall, to Supreme Court. Remember: Elections have consequences, and one is that a conservative politician picked an ultra-conservative for the court.
That’s a very good thing for voters to remember come Nov. 4.