Magazine article Politics Magazine

Kansas

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Kansas

Article excerpt

MONEY COULD PROVE to be the difference in a competitive race for Kansas' open U.S. Senate seat. Two-term Sen. Sam Brownback (R) is running for governor next year, leaving a potential primary between Republican U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. So far, one of the few things that distinguish the two is the size of their campaign coffers. Moran and Tiahrt are both fixtures in the state's congressional delegation--Moran is in his 7th term and Tiahrt is in his 8th--but it's Moran who starts with the financial advantage. As of June, Moran had more than $3 million cash on hand, compared to Tiahrt's $1.4 million.

The contest is shaping up to be a battle for the base, with Tiahrt painting himself as the more conservative choice. It's a tough case to make--the American Conservative Union gave the two men identical scores in 2006. And in 2008, Moran's ACU score was actually a point higher than Tiahrt's. "They're both fairly evenly matched," says Laurie Bagby, a political science professor at Kansas State University. "Talking to Republicans, they feel both are good quality candidates so there is no clear leader in the race." A Survey USA poll taken in August gave Moran a six-point advantage but found 30 percent of likely voters still undecided.

The Tiahrt campaign is trumpeting its endorsements from prominent conservative groups like the Family Research Council and Kansans for Life, even though both candidates are pro-life. …

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