Editorial: Jerry Moran gives conservatives seven reasons to support Todd Tiahrt

On Thursday, First District Congressman Jerry Moran lost considerable ground in his race against Fourth District Congressman Todd Tiahrt for the Republican nomination to the US Senate.

Sixty to seventy percent of Kansas Republican voters are conservative, and Moran must perform well among these voters if he hopes to replace Senator Sam Brownback in the Senate.  Moran made that much more difficult yesterday by announcing the endorsement of seven Johnson County mayors:

Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach, Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm, Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn, Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland, Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers, Prairie Village Mayor Ron Shaffer and Mission Mayor Laura McConwell offered a joint statement endorsing Moran’s candidacy.

The Moran campaign’s press release added, “This endorsement gives Moran a strong boost in a key battleground county.”

No, it does the opposite.  This endorsement causes Republicans to pause and to wonder whether Jerry Moran will support reform, or will instead support more of the same “big-government Republicanism” that, since 2005, has led the GOP into an unnecessarily small minority in Congress.

Most of these mayors are quite liberal, and the rest lack the courage to support a freedom-based agenda, one that results in less government and lower taxes, rather than more.  

This group actively opposes local government reform — through their blind support of the left-wing League of Kansas Municipalities that receives enormous amounts of taxpayer money, the hiring of taxpayer-funded contract lobbyists who fight in Topeka against the interests of taxpayers, and their refusal to make budgets easy to view and to understand (whether on paper or the Internet).

At least one — Shawnee’s Jeff Meyers — is, if not a Democrat, an active supporter of Democrats, as demonstrated by this fundraising letter issed on behalf of 2006 Democratic candidate for 39th District State Representative Corey Mohn, who lost to conservative Republican Representative Owen Donohoe.

At least two of them — Leawood’s Peggy Dunn and Overland Park’s Carl Gerlach — carry baggage from their involvement in the in-name-only “education”-related JCCC Foundation, a non-profit that receives $300,000 annually in taxpayer money, and whose membership list includes a “who’s who” of pay-for-play politicians.  Many of the board members were hand-picked by former JCCC President Charlsen Carlsen and former Kansas Senate President Dick Bond.  Charlsen Carlsen abruptly left the college in 2006 after four women accused him of sexual harrassment.  Dick Bond — who later told now-President Terry Calaway something along the lines of, “I don’t care what Carlsen did; I’m going to support him” — convinced most of the JCCC Foundation’s “Johnson Countians of the Year” to sign a letter pressuring (unsuccessfully) the college to end investigations into Carlsen.  This 2006 letter was published in The Johnson County Sun, whose publisher Steve Rose was also one of these co-signing “Johnson Countians of the Year.”  In the letter, these “education leaders” ignored the four women’s allegations and, in a decree-like manner, stated that Carlsen created a positive work environment at JCCC.

The 2008 “Johnson Countian of the Year” was Carlsen’s 2006 attorney, and the “2009 Johnson Countians of the Year” are Peggy Dunn and her husband.

2006 presented an opportunity for Dunn and Gerlach to demonstrate leadership, but they merely stood by and watched as fellow board members of their non-profit chose a “friend” over four female college employees and the voters’ right to an accountable institution.

And where the public can’t be sure of one of these mayor’s politics, it’s not reassuring for conservative voters to know that each of these mayors is elected during extremely-low-turnout April elections (averaging 10-15% voter participation), in which the overall electoral make-up leans considerably to the left of the average Johnson County voter:  in other words, these mayors are elected by Democrats.


Congressman Jerry Moran correctly opposed a few of the fiscally irresponsible measures that were promoted by House Republicans over the last decade, and this no doubt played a role in Moran earning the endorsement of the nationally-respected conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.  To a certain extent, Tiahrt is a bigger-spender who “plays the game” in Congress; former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has endorsed Tiahrt.

This mayoral endorsement list probably helps Moran with fundraising, but any fundraising impact is going to be outweighed by the loss of trust among conservative voters, who now wonder: is Jerry Moran part of the solution to Washington, or part of the problem?

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