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Tags: brownback | reelection | kansas

Kansas GOP Gov. Brownback Headed to Reelection

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 06:03 AM EST

 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was poised to win a second term, surviving a backlash to an anti-tax crusade that pitted him against fellow Republicans and tested voters’ patience for the Tea Party agenda.

Democratic state Representative Paul Davis conceded the race to Brownback, the Associated Press reported. The incumbent was leading 49.5 percent to 46.6 percent for Davis, with 86 percent of precincts reporting, according to preliminary results from AP. In 2010, Brownback won with 63 percent of the vote.

Victory for the 58-year-old Brownback, a former U.S. senator elected to lead the state amid the Tea Party advances of 2010, keeps alive his plan to make Kansas a laboratory for the theory that economic development will more than make up for revenue lost to lower taxes.

Brownback has promised to “hit the accelerator” on more cuts. His agenda came under fire as the growth in economic activity, jobs and population that he promised would follow failed to materialize. Revenue dropped about $335 million more than state budget analysts forecast, ratings companies downgraded state credit and the legislature’s nonpartisan research staff projected a shortfall in 2016.

The cuts and their aftermath emerged as a central theme in the race. Brownback had pledged to cut taxes to zero if re- elected. Davis had called Brownback’s crusade a “failed experiment” and vowed to undo the damage.

Teachers Fired

The legislature in 2012 reduced levies on those who earn most and eliminated income taxes on most small businesses. It came at a vulnerable time for states still struggling after the 18-month recession that ended in 2009 and hit the state’s public-education system particularly hard, leaving school superintendents to brace for more austerity even after closing schools, firing teachers and raising local property levies to balance their books.

Hundreds of Republican officials, including former state chairwoman Rochelle Chronister, called the cuts reckless. The blowback spread to other Republican incumbents, including Roberts and Kobach, who also faced tough re-election fights in the historically conservative state of 2.9 million people.

Davis, 44, a lawyer and son of two teachers, joined the legislature in 2003 and became House minority leader in 2008. He sought to woo moderate Republicans and won the backing of many Republicans who said Brownback went too far. He’s pledged to freeze future tax cuts, restore education funding and boost the number of residents eligible for Medicaid after Brownback rejected expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Koch Support

The editorial page of the state’s most-read newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, called Davis the best choice because he would “restore balance, common sense and fiscal responsibility to a state government that has jumped off an ideological cliff.”

Brownback took office after eight years of Democrats in the state’s top office and moved swiftly to leave his mark. He signed bills to restrict abortion and require voters to show photo identification, and called for overhauls of pension, health-care and public-school financing systems.

He was elected to Congress in 1994 and briefly ran for president in 2007. Democrats have criticized him for his close ties to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the conservative majority owners of Wichita-based Koch Industries, who have been active supporters of Republicans nationwide and have long contributed to Brownback’s campaigns.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, the Washington-based group that pressures members of Congress to sign a no-tax-increase pledge, has lauded Brownback’s actions in Kansas, calling the state “the starter gun” for a host of neighboring governors to champion cuts of their own.

Brownback’s vision for a second term laid out plans to continue to fight against the “intrusive reach” of the U.S. government under President Barack Obama and investing in education, according to his campaign website.

© Copyright 2022 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was poised to win a second term, surviving a backlash to an anti-tax crusade that pitted him against fellow Republicans and tested voters' patience for the Tea Party agenda.Democratic state Representative Paul Davis conceded the race to...
brownback, reelection, kansas
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 06:03 AM
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