It’s more clear than ever that ultimate control of the Kansas Legislature starting in 2017 will go straight through Johnson County.
Want to put a governor on Gov. Sam Brownback and hamper his ability to push through more pieces of his restrictive social agenda and destructive economic policies?
Johnson Countians can make that positive outcome occur by voting for about a dozen moderate and progressive GOP candidates in the Aug. 2 primaries.
True, voters also can keep Brownback in power in Topeka by helping ultraconservative Republican incumbents retain their jobs.
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Here’s a quick update on important developments in the primaries.
▪ Advance voting has already begun for all these races.
That’s crucial to know because in the 2014 elections about 30 percent of all votes were cast before Election Day.
Ballots were mailed Wednesday to thousands of people who had requested them from the Johnson County Election Office. Once those residents get the ballots, they can mark them and put them back in the mail as early as Thursday.
That means the election office starting this week will be receiving hundreds of returned ballots in the mail each day.
In addition, starting Monday, people can advance vote in person at several places around the county. A lot of people will be making decisions on the crucial legislative races right now — not on Aug. 2.
▪ Ignore the hoopla made by several incumbent legislators that leaders in the Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission school districts “support” them.
They don’t. Both school districts have made it clear in recent days they do not endorse candidates. They especially don’t back GOP incumbents who generally have not been strong supporters of schools.
However, both school districts contributed to this mess.
Sen. Jeff Melcher, for instance, printed on his campaign materials a letter sent to him by Blue Valley Superintendent Todd White in which White said he “looks forward to working with you again during the 2016-17 legislative session.”
That was a big mistake because those words do, indeed, appear to make it look like White wants Melcher back in Topeka.
The district, under pressure by concerned parents, properly released a public apology and said an error had been made in sending out that letter.
Rep. Brett Hildabrand also used on a campaign flier a letter, this one from Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson, which thanked the politician for his support on a school bill.
Again, the district released its own statement that it “does not endorse candidates.”
▪ Given the tremendous interest in Johnson County races, several organizations have made their own recommendations for voters in recent days.
These reckless tax cuts have slashed public funds by around $650 million a year, making it harder to properly finance schools. Go to www.kansas-pta-legislative.org.
The Mainstream Coalition PAC, on the moderate side, has endorsed in most primaries as well as some general elections. Find that information at www.mainstreamcoalition.org.
On the more conservative side, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce PAC has announced its endorsements for the primaries. Go to www.kansaschamber.org.
Starting Thursday, moderate Johnson County Republicans need to vote in any way they can — by mail, in advance or at the polls on Aug. 2 — to get rid of GOP legislators who support Brownback’s ruinous policies.