Friday, February 21, 2020

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Rundown – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the state party and the state government. What are we focused on this week? Sen. Susan Wagle’s political agenda, Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s delayed implementation of election law, Kris Kobach’s ties to the Trump administration as a US Senate Candidate, the ballot order for 2020 Presidential Primary, and Rep. Tom Sawyer’s take on KPERS.

2018 LETTER SHOWS WAGLE WANTED OUT OF KANSAS POLITICS

What’s happening?

(MSN) – One of the biggest names in the current U.S. Senate race in Kansas wanted out of the Sunflower State and into the Trump administration before launching her campaign. In the spring of 2018, Susan Wagle wanted to leave Kansas politics. KMBC 9 News obtained a copy of a letter Wagle wrote to a political consultant with strong connections to the White House.

Wagle: I’m thinking it’s an excellent time to transition out of Kansas politics as we elect a new governor. I’m willing to discuss any opening. But I am particularly interested in becoming an ambassador at large for women’s global issues.

DEMOCRATS SUE OVER KANSAS DELAY IN START OF ‘VOTE ANYWHERE’

What’s happening?

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas and national Democratic Party groups last Friday sued the Republican official who oversees the state’s elections, accusing him of violating voters’ rights by delaying the implementation of a law designed to make voting on Election Day more convenient.

Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said three weeks ago that he and others were contemplating a lawsuit.

Hensley: Schwab is dragging his feet to enforce a bill that became law that had widespread bipartisan support to make it more convenient to vote. Maybe this will encourage him to enforce the law.

SCHWAB WANTS SIGNIFICANT TECHNICAL CHANGES IN THE MIDDLE OF ELECTION SEASON

What’s happening?

(The Wichita Eagle) – Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab is pushing to make the state’s central voter registration database more secure by changing how counties tap into it, but some officials are nervous about what they see as a big project in a busy election year. […]

Schwab’s plan generally has bipartisan support, but some are concerned it is too much to undertake this close to primaries and a Presidential election.

Douglas County Clerk Democrat Jamie Shew: We’d have to rewire our entire office. There’s serious logistical challenges.

KOBACH COZIES UP TO TRUMP, TRIES TO WIN GOP SUPPORT

What’s happening?

(CNN) – Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are fearful that the conservative hardliner Kris Kobach could cost them a crucial Senate seat in Kansas and potentially their narrow majority — and are eager to find a way to defeat him in a hotly contested primary.

But Kobach is getting face time with President Donald Trump and consulting with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, over an immigration plan that the White House is developing. […]

Behind the scenes, GOP leaders are eagerly looking for an alternative to Kobach. After failing to convince Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to run for the seat, they have been assessing the current field of candidates — and looking at a potential new one.

Kobach: It’s likely that the Senate candidate who will do the best is the one who can best articulate Trump’s position and is most associated with Trump in his positions.

BALLOT ORDER FOR KANSAS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY ANNOUNCED

What’s happening?

On Thursday, the Kansas Democratic Party announced the ballot order for the 2020 Presidential Primary election. The upcoming primary will also feature ranked-choice voting, a first for Kansas primaries.

The candidates will be listed as follows:

1. Michael Bloomberg

2. Pete Buttigieg

3. Joe Biden

4. Amy Klobuchar

5. Elizabeth Warren

6. Tulsi Gabbard

7. Bernie Sanders

8. Tom Steyer

Find more information on voting in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary here.

OP-ED HIGHLIGHT: REALITY OF KPERS RE-AMORTIZATION

Rep. Tom Sawyer: Governor Laura Kelly’s plan to restructure KPERS payments is a means for the state to safely pay off our debt to the retirement system without breaking the bank. Contrary to other claims, re-amortization would not add to our current existing balance. Instead, it would make KPERS payments more reasonable, ensuring that payments are actually made, and made on time. It would also allow us to pay off the two most recently delayed payments to KPERS, which amounts to $268.4 million.

Whether or not it’s a popular plan, it’s one that will finally set us on track to fulfill our obligations, as we’ve so often failed to do these last eight years.