Primary election recommendations

By The Mercury

After a mostly quiet primary campaign, the election to determine both parties’ nominees for various local, state and national offices is just two days away. For readers who have not already cast their ballots or not made up their minds, we offer the following thoughts and recommendations, starting with Republican candidates.

For U.S. Senate, the candidates are Pat Roberts, D.J. Smith, Milton Wolf and Alvin E. Zahnter. There is but one qualified candidate — the incumbent. Sen. Roberts might not be tea-party conservative, but he’s plenty conservative. As for the issue of his residence, that was never more than an act of desperation. More important, he’s served Kansas superbly, as is evident both in the resurrection of Fort Riley and the placement of NBAF in Manhattan.

For 1st District U. S. representative, the candidates are Alan LaPolice of Clyde and the incumbent, Tim Huelskamp from Fowler. This, too, is an easy call. We don’t think Rep. Huelskamp, despite his heroic claims to the contrary, has served either the voters of his district or Kansas well and does not deserve re-election. We’d like to be better acquainted with Mr. LaPolice, but our first impression is enough for us to recommend him over the incumbent.

For governor, the candidates are the incumbent, Sam Brownback, and Jennifer Winn of Wichita. Ms. Winn is a businesswoman and moderate who, among other things, takes issue with the governor’s support of tax breaks for corporations. She became interested in running for governor after her son was charged with murder, and supports decriminalizing marijuana. We’re uncomfortable with many of Gov. Brownback’s policies, but acknowledge his experience. We recommend him, though with little enthusiasm.

For secretary of state, the candidates are the incumbent, Kris Kobach, and Scott Morgan of Lawrence. We strongly recommend Mr. Morgan. Unlike the incumbent, Mr. Morgan promises to devote his full attention to this state and its citizens. And unlike Mr. Kobach, Mr. Morgan, while protecting the integrity of elections, wants to make voting easier for eligible citizens, not harder.

For insurance commissioner, the crowded field consists of Beverly Gossage of Eudora, David J. Powell of El Dorado, Ken Selzer of Leawood, Clark Schultz of Lindsborg and John M. Toplikar of Olathe. If it were up to us, this position would be appointed rather than elected. That said, Mr. Schultz, a state senator from McPherson County who has been chair of the Insurance Committee since 2005, is well versed not just on insurance matters but on the politics of insurance as well.

For the Kansas House, 64th District, the candidates are Glen Hawkins of Riley, Kathy Martin of Clay Center and Susie Swanson of Clay Center. We know little about Mr. Hawkins, and at least one of the things we know about Mrs. Martin — that she supported creationism as a member of the Kansas Board of Education — is enough for us to keep looking. That leaves Mrs. Swanson, who happens to be married to Vern Swanson, the present 64th District representative, which consists of Clay and northern and western Riley counties. He has served well, and we recommend that voters give Mrs. Swanson the benefit of the doubt.

For Riley County Commission, 1st District, the candidates are Ben “Beni” Wilson and Dave Lewis. In our view, Mr. Lewis has served his constituents ably and deserves another term.

Democrats have fewer primary races this year, but their candidates are as deserving of attention as Republicans are.

For U.S. Senate, the Democratic candidates are Chad Taylor of Topeka and Patrick Wiesner of Lawrence. Mr. Wiesner is an attorney specializing in tax issues and a major in the U.S. Army Reserves who served in Afghanistan. Mr. Taylor is a two-term Shawnee County District Attorney who recognizes the need both to control spending and to reform the Affordable Care Act. Though both men are qualified, we recommend Mr. Taylor.

For 1st District U.S. representative, the candidates are James E. Sherow of Manhattan and Bryan R. Whitney of Wichita. Mr. Whitney, who plans to move back into the 1st District, said he filed for office because he didn’t want Rep. Huelskamp to run unopposed. Mr. Sherow, a KSU history professor and former Manhattan City Commissioner, is running because he takes issue with a raft of Rep. Huelskamp’s policies, as do we. Thus, we recommend Mr. Sherow.

Finally, we urge all registered voters to cast ballots and to actively support candidates in the general election.

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