Sam Brownback

State revenue forecasters said Monday that the state can expect hundreds of millions of budget dollars less than previously thought to fund schools, social programs and highway projects.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Following the strong Republican wins in Kansas elections this week, some people are trying to determine what drove the wave of victories for Republicans. Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback both won their races, but many polls before the election showed them neck-and-neck with their challengers or losing.

Kansans voted to retain two Kansas Supreme Court justices under fire for their decision to overturn the death sentences of two brothers in one of the most notorious murder cases in the state’s history.

The two, Justice Eric S. Rosen and Justice Lee A. Johnson, were appointed to the court by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but stand for retention by voters at the end of their six-year terms.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Gov. Sam Brownback was re-elected as Kansas governor by a narrow margin Tuesday night after a tough campaign against Democratic challenger Paul Davis.

Brownback took a majority in crucial Johnson and Sedgwick counties, giving the Republican the edge over Davis, who ended up with 47 percent of the vote. Brownback landed 49 percent of the vote, and 4 percent went to Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr.

"What a night!" Brownback exclaimed as he thanked supporters for the win. "Paul Davis ran a great race ... that State Fair debate is not one I will soon forget."

Political Pundits: Midterm Election Blitz

Oct 31, 2014

There’s a chill in the air, and a forbidding wind is rustling through the trees. But which is scarier—the ghouls and ghosts of Halloween or the campaigning for the midterm election?

On Friday's Up to Date, the Political Pundits return to talk about the issues surrounding the close races in Kansas for secretary of state, governor and especially for the U.S. Senate, where a leadership change is a real possibility.

Plus, we have a look at the buzz surrounding the Missouri governor’s race of 2016. 

Kansas Governor’s Race Has Kansas City’s Attention

Oct 30, 2014
Stephen Koranda / KPR

A Kansas race that is catching attention from political junkies around the country has Kansas City-area voters captivated, too.

That’s according to feedback we heard on social media in response to our Tell KCUR question of the week. We asked, “What’s the most important political race to you in election 2014? Why?

“KS Gov race for sure! Need child advocates,” Alexis Ceule (@AlexisCeule) tells us on Twitter.

Gov. Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis disagree on the role of politicians in a battle over same sex marriage in Kansas. The comments came during a debate this week in Wichita.

Davis says he originally opposed the state's same sex marriage ban because it creates an unwelcoming image for Kansas. He says the issue will be handled by the courts.

"The fact of the matter is this issue is out of the hands of politicians. There's nothing that I can do, there's nothing that Governor Brownback can do to change this issue. The courts will decide it," says Davis.

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, tangled over judicial selection in their final scheduled debate Tuesday.

Brownback criticized the current makeup of the state Supreme Court and referenced the recent overturning of death sentences for the Carr brothers, two convicted murderers.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis says if elected, he'll surround himself with the most bipartisan cabinet in the state's history.

"I want to try to bring the very best people we can into state government, and that's ultimately going to mean we're going to have roughly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans," said Davis, a Democrat.

His comments came during an appearance on KCUR's Up to Date with host Steve Kraske on Wednesday.

city-data

We all knew education was going to be an important issue in the race for Kansas governor.

But in the last three weeks of the campaign it just might turn out to 'the' issue.

Gov. Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, have charged each other with dastardly education deeds for weeks.

At a news conference last month in Topeka, Davis accused the governor of cutting education funding.

“All we’ve gotten from Gov. Brownback on education is deep cuts and failed leadership," he said.

www.tradingacademy.com/ / OTA Photos, Flickr

The Kansas budget has been in the national spotlight ever since Governor Sam Brownback signed dramatic tax cuts into law in 2012. Over the past several months, tax revenue has been coming in at lower levels than the state projected. Not surprisingly, the two sides of the political spectrum view the resulting conundrum differently. 

Guests:

  • John Hanna, reporter, The Associated Press
  • David Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute
  • Duane Goossen, former Kansas budget director

A former state senator confirmed Thursday that he was contacted by FBI agents looking into allegations of “pay-to-play” deals in state government.

Dick Kelsey, a Republican who represented the Goddard area until 2012, said the FBI questions centered on David Kensinger, a longtime political adviser and former chief of staff for Gov. Sam Brownback.

“The FBI called me,” Kelsey said. “They wanted to talk to me and did a number of times, along with an in-person, two-hour interview. The investigation is very real.”

city-data

There are two big issues in the race for Kansas governor this year: How to fund education and how to grow the economy.

Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback is standing firm on cutting taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback has cut income taxes for individuals and eliminated them for small businesses. He says this will spur business development and thus the economy will grow.

But House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis has a very different idea.

Davis says he will drive economic growth by spending more on education.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Everyone knew education was going to be an issue in the race for Kansas governor.

In debates and TV commercials, Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s increased spending on public schools. His Democratic challenger, House Minority leader Paul Davis from Lawrence, claims Brownback has cut funding.

A health care compact bill designed to get Kansas and other states out of federal health regulations is gaining attention locally for its possible Medicare implications, but a national expert on Medicare says the compact, which would need congressional approval, is not even being discussed in Washington, D.C.

Frank Morris / KCUR

The three candidates for governor in Kansas diverge on taxes, health care and school funding, but they   came together Friday for a debate sponsored by the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. 

The contest is largely between incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis. Friday’s gubernatorial debate in Overland Park also included the Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr, who echoed some of Gov. Brownback’s views and pledged to take his income tax cuts to a new level.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis traded blows at the Kansas State Fair over the weekend as they met for their first formal debate.

It was a packed house in Hutchinson, Kan., in the arena where the debate was held. Before it even started, an energized crowd chanted and cheered. When Davis and Brownback took the stage they hit on some common themes they’ve been repeating on the election trail.

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has unveiled some education goals he'll push for if he's reelected to a second term in office. Brownback says he'll aim for 60 percent of Kansas adults to have a college degree or technical certificate.

At events in Topeka and the Kansas City area Brownback also hinted at a clash over education funding between himself and his Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race, Rep. Paul Davis.

Brownback touted funding increases during his time in office, specifically money targeted at technical education programs.

Frank Morris / KCUR

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made another trip to Kansas City Wednesday to stump for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and attend a fundraiser in Mission Hills.

Christie heads the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

“Kansas is an important race for us in the country, and that’s why I’m here and told the governor I’ll be back between now and election day as well,” says Christie. “RGA is going to make a significant investment here in Kansas, because we believe in Sam.”

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

High-ranking Republicans in Kansas will be working to eliminate divisions between some GOP voters. That comes after this week's primary election, which featured some contentious races among Republicans.

There were Republican primaries in Kansas for offices including the U.S. Senate, the U.S House and the state Legislature. Some of them were tough fights, but the state Republican Party's executive director, Clay Barker, says they're going to be sending a simple message now to Kansas Republicans.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.

Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum stopped in Kansas to campaign for Gov. Sam Brownback Monday in Olathe, Kan., where Santorum called Brownback a "warrior" for conservative principles. 

Santorum and Brownback served in the U.S. Senate together. Santorum says Brownback takes on the big issues, and he isn't surprised Brownback has ruffled some feathers with his tax-cutting, small-government policies. Santorum said Kansas could be a leader for other states.

Political Polls: Kansas Races

Jun 30, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

A new poll shows Gov. Sam Brownback trailing opposing Democrat Paul Davis, who’s showing support from independents and Republicans that many didn’t expect.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about that race, how Sen. Pat Roberts is faring against the competition and what former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is saying this week.

Guests:

A routine financial meeting last week at the Kansas Statehouse turned into a heated exchange between Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and some Democratic lawmakers. The two sides sparred over the state's financial policies, and the meeting previewed many of the arguments that are likely to be repeated on the campaign trail this fall.

The state of Kansas borrows money to help manage cash flow during the year, but the annual meeting soon turned to a debate over fiscal policy.

Brownback Reassigns Two Top Administrators

May 21, 2014

Gov. Sam Brownback's office on Wednesday announced that Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, will become the new state budget director and Kari Bruffett, currently head of the division of health care finance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will step in as KDADS chief.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and others remembered the Brown v. Board of Education ruling Friday in Topeka.

The event comes on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered an end to segregation in public schools.

The governor spoke at the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, which is now a national historic site dedicated to the ruling.

Brownback says it’s important to remember the controversy surrounding the Brown v. Board ruling and the struggles of the civil rights movement.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer officially have started their campaign for a second term.

The two were joined Thursday at a kickoff event in Topeka by their campaign co-chairs, former Sen. Bob Dole and Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower.

During the event, Brownback touted his economic policies and tax cuts he helped pass. He credits them with promoting job growth and helping to build a significant financial cushion in the state budget.

Tax cuts in Kansas have "landed with a thud," according to the co-author of a report that criticizes the state's actions for harming public services and sapping the state's long-term economic vitality. 

The report, which was released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says massive tax cuts enacted by Kansas lawmakers in 2012 have left the state's schools, public health departments and other public services "stuck in the recession." 

The FBI is investigating possible influence peddling by former aides of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, according to a story Sunday in The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The FBI is also looking into whether the governor’s office pressured the for-profit companies that run the state Medicaid system to use lobbyists from Parallel Strategies, a firm founded by the former aides, including the governor’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, the newspaper reported.

parallelstrategiesks.com

Over the weekend, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s KanCare Medicaid program. 

Pages