The Buzz

Milton Wolf hints, but won’t commit, to another race this year for the U.S. Senate from Kansas

Milton Wolf is angry, lashing out at Kansas’ GOP conservative establishment and once again hinting, but not committing, to another political race in 2016.

In a column sent to The Buzz as Kansas Republicans started gathering for their annual state convention this weekend in Overland Park, Wolf pointed to Ronald Reagan as an example of a conservative who was once defeated, but “refused to give up on America.”

Added Wolf, “And so do I.”

“Our current political class has lost its way and Americans are in open revolt,” Wolf wrote in the column. “The rise of Donald Trump marks the unmistakable and utter repudiation of the politicians, in both parties, who have created this mess.”

Wolf lost to GOP Sen. Pat Roberts 48-41 percent in the August 2014 primary in a race that received national attention because it pitted Wolf, a tea partier, against the venerable incumbent. Ever since, Wolf has lobbed criticism on social media at Roberts and his Senate counterpart, Jerry Moran, for failing to hew more closely to conservative ideals. He’s also been critical of 3rd District Congressman Kevin Yoder.

Moran and Yoder, both Republicans, are on the ballot this year.

In the letter, Wolf walks up to, and reaches out toward, the idea of another candidacy this year, but ultimately stops short.

“In 2014, ordinary Kansans rose up to take on the political class. By 2015, this same revolutionary spirit across America touched off the firestorm that is our current historic presidential election, which at its core, is the outright repudiation of the GOP establishment by rank-and-file Republican voters.

“Kansans, like most Americans, are eager to clean up the mess in Topeka and Washington and to restore the greatness of our state and our nation. And we know that our setback in 2014 was no more permanent than Ronald Reagan’s in 1976.”

He ends with this line:

“The Wolf Pack is on the prowl.”

But when pressed in a text to say whether he was running for the Senate again this year, Wolf demurred, saying, “I don’t have anything more to add at this point,” although he also said in a subsequent text: “I’m not trying to be mysterious. I’m the lone Republican in Kansas willing to take on the party in order to save it.”

Even if Wolf was to announce his candidacy in the next week, that would be regarded as unusually late for a major office, such as the Senate or House. Modern fundraising requirements necessary to run competitive campaigns demand upwards of a year or more.

Both Moran and Yoder have multi-million-dollar campaign accounts.

Elsewhere in the column, Wolf insists that the “political class” took its best shot at him in 2014 “and I’m still standing.”

One shot Wolf points to is the 2014 election-year investigation of him by the state Board of Healing Arts in connection with gruesome Facebook posts of gunshot victims Wolf made during the course of his work as a Leawood radiologist. The board ultimately cleared him.

Of that, Wolf wrote the board managed to “serve the purpose of protecting the political class.”

“I refuse to be sidetracked by their political sleaze,” he wrote of the GOP establishment, “and will instead focus on rescuing the Party of Reagan from the current political class and on finding positive solutions to real problems faced by real Kansans and real Americans.”

He devoted a critical paragraph each to Roberts, Moran and Yoder, saying of Yoder that he’s gone “full Washington right before our eyes.” A Yoder spokeswoman could not reached for a response.

Wolf also criticizes Gov. Sam Brownback for re-appointing Ann Hodgdon to the Healing Arts board in the wake of the Wolf investigation. The governor, Wolf wrote, “is a career politician.” A spokeswoman for Brownback declined comment.

Steve Kraske: 816-234-4312, @stevekraske