Guess which Kansas Republican politician received the fewest votes while running and winning in a statewide race on Tuesday.
Gov. Sam Brownback, and it wasn’t close.
In fact, Brownback didn’t even get a majority of Kansans to support him and his crippling tax cut policy. He won only 49.7 percent of the vote.
Even running in a deep-red state in a deep-red year nationally, Brownback finished far behind other GOP politicians on the ballot: Stae Treasurer Ron Estes, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.
This is the most essential takeaway from Tuesday’s races: Brownback’s narrow victory over Democrat Paul Davis did not provide the governor and his ultra-conservative allies in the Legislature any kind of mandate to continue with further reductions in the individual income tax rates.
Voters understood that much, even if they still ended up supporting Brownback.
From The Associated Press: “A survey of 2,027 voters for The Associated Press and television networks said that 53 percent of those surveyed felt the tax cuts had mostly hurt the state, while 41 percent thought they’d mostly helped.”
Already, the first round of tax cuts have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in anticipated revenues. The state faces a predicted budget shortfall of at least $260 million in two years.
And things could get worse, because the state already is more than $40 million short of its expected revenues for the current fiscal year, which is one-third of the way over.
What does that mean? Budget cuts are ahead, and public education would top the list, given the large amount of spending provided by the state.
But Brownback and others hell-bent on cutting taxes won’t talk about that — until it’s too late.