JoCo Republicans met on Nov 17 and elected new county officers, as well as 92 delegates, 46 men and 46 women, to the 3rd District Republican Party meeting to be held on Dec 10. In addition, 96 alternate delegates were chosen.
“Moderate Republicans”, often called liberals by conservatives, won the entire slate of new officers, but tactical errors by the moderates seemed to have allowed conservatives to win all the district delegate positions. Even popular moderates, like Steve Cloud, Andy Wollen or Pat Colloton, only won alternate delegate positions likely due to these tactical errors.
Last week moderate Republicans seemed happy about the results for the officers of the county party.
However, many grass root conservative Republicans were confused by the results. Moderates in 2006 preached “power sharing” encouraging conservatives to allow some moderates to hold positions in the county party. However, moderates denied the same “power sharing” to conservatives when they had the votes in 2008. In 2004 moderates tried to position someone in the middle between the GOP Club and the KRA, but that “middle” candidate had only represented the GOP Club. In 2002 when moderates were in control, they almost could not mention the win of Phill Kline as Attorney General at the county re-organization meeting. Conservatives have not seen much respect from moderates in recent years and are skeptical because of that.
In 2008, moderates chose their own conservatives to be officials in the party and did not allow conservatives to pick conservatives from their ranks, which was a bit curious. Why should a conservative be excited or interested in someone that moderates claimed was a conservative? Why can’t conservatives pick a candidate that moderates could support? Why should a conservative support a conservative picked by the moderates when that person had never been an active conservative in Johnson County?
Personally, I am still perplexed why moderates did not allow conservative Kathy Kist to be Vice-Chair, when she would have been a popular choice among conservatives.
The moderates made at least three tactical errors in the election of district delegates:
- Some moderates left the meeting after the election of chair and vice-chair, and may not have cast their ballots for district delegates.
- Some 25-30 ballots were disqualified according to Ernie Straub, existing 3rd District Chair because of overvotes. Because of a clerical error, the list of recommended moderate candidates circulated by the moderates before the meeting had the desired number of names (46 men and 46 women) but then for some reason had a blank line followed by a 47th man and 47th woman. Those casting ballots with more than 46 names for men or women were disqualified, likely caused by the extra names on the moderates’ list.
- The recommended list of moderate district delegates was not in alphabetical order, while the list of names on the ballot was in alphabetical order. Conservatives with an alphabetical list of recommended candidates had a much easier time in casting their votes. Without an alphabetical list, moderates may have had some occasional undervotes that also hurt their candidates.
In addition to the tactical errors above, 15 moderate precinct committee folks were forced to cast provisional ballots because of their support for Democrats in the 2008 elections. Surprisingly, some of those supporting Democrats were also on the list of 3rd district delegates. It’s unknown if those ballots were counted, but there has been no news of reversals by the state party in their eligibility to vote.
There was one clerical error on the ballot with one moderate woman candidate being listed twice. Perhaps in some cases this caused some confusion on the exact number of delegates selected on a ballot, but it does not explain the conservative sweep when moderates seemed to have the votes.
Updated (11/26/2008): The vote totals were provided to me for the district delegates, which makes the results even more confusing.
For county chair, Ronnie Metsker won with 304 votes over Arlene Krings with 265 votes.
The elected district delegates with the most votes were both conservatives: Ernie Straub with 279 and Christy Kriegshauser with 264. The elected district delegates with the fewest number of votes were Mike Moore with227 votes and Linda Steinbrink with 217.
The first alternates, both moderates, were Ronnie Metsker with 213 votes, and Susan Metsker with 196 votes. Why did all conservative district delegates receive more votes than any of the candidates endorsed by the moderates, when the moderate-supported leadership team won?
This results are an enigma to me. Why were there so many undervotes in the election of district delegates? Why did the Johnson County Republican Party elect moderate leadership, but all conservative delegates to the district meeting?
- JoCo Delegates to the 3rd District, Johnson County Republican Party, Nov 25, 2008.
- Results of Johnson County GOP delegate election delayed, Kansas Liberty, Nov 24, 2008.
- 17 Republicans affected by “Loyalty” in JoCo, Kansas Meadowlark, Nov 18, 2008.