ByÂ Cory Brown-Associated Press
Kansas conservatives are claiming total victory in the stateâ€™s Republican civil war after a string of defeats for moderateÂ SenateÂ candidates in state legislative primaries Tuesday.
The shift in the balance of power could free up large parts ofÂ Gov. Sam Brownbackâ€™s agenda stalled by the infighting.
Joseph Aistrup, a political science professor with a specialty in Kansas politics at Kansas State University, predicts an abolition of the state income tax, a school-choice voucher program, a change in the stateâ€™s education-funding formula, and constitutional amendments expanding the appointment power of the governor over judicial nominees at the appellate andÂ Supreme CourtÂ levels.
Tuesdayâ€™s primary results almost guarantee even more of a single-party state in Kansas because conservatives already dominate the 125-memberÂ House of RepresentativesÂ with 93 seats and have a strong advocate in the governorâ€™s mansion withÂ Mr. Brownback.
He characterized this weekâ€™s election as a referendum onÂ Mr. Brownbackâ€™s policies, with voters showing they strongly support the governor.
â€œIt was a gamble and it paid off,â€ he said ofÂ Mr. Brownbackâ€™s targeted attacks on liberal-leaning members of his own party in the primaries. â€œIn Kansas, moderate Republicans are either dead or in hospice.â€
With a closed primary, no high-profile statewide elections, and a 22.8 percent voter turnout rate, the conservative bloc of voters spoke loud and clear.
â€œThe people of Kansas have a clear choice: Do we want to grow the government or grow the economy? Most Kansans want to grow the economy and increase the number of private sector jobs in our state. We will continue working every day to help Kansans fulfill their aspirations,â€Mr. BrownbackÂ said, exulting in the primary results.
Kansas Republican PartyÂ Executive DirectorÂ Clayton BarkerÂ was more conservative in his expectations for the legislative session, hoping for a modified tax bill, state pension reform, and a pro-growth economic agenda.
Mr. BarkerÂ characterized the results as a net positive for theÂ Republican PartyÂ and Kansas. â€œThese candidates are more in line with the governorâ€™s policies, priorities, and philosophy â€” ultimately resulting in a more efficient and effective legislative session.â€
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