October 16, 2004

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Rep. Moore rival goes for broke (Jonathan E. Kaplan, 10/13/04, The Hill)

At the campaign headquarters of Kris Kobach hangs a drywall board with a “quote of the day” from Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), which says: “Now go beat the ever lovin’ dog vomit out of him.”

Kobach, a hard-charging Rhodes scholar and former aide to Attorney General John Ashcroft, is trying to defeat incumbent Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.). After winning a bitterly contested primary against a centrist Republican in August, the final weeks of Kobach’s bid are an experiment in electoral politics as well as a grueling trek across the western suburbs of Kansas City.

“It’s a big experiment,” said Burdette Loomis, a political scientist at the University of Kansas. “Moore could win big [if it fails], but it’s entirely possible that Kobach could win.”

Kobach’s novel approach in the 3rd Congressional District has been to expand the conservative base and turnout instead of moving to attract centrist Republicans, which has proved a winning formula for Moore.

Audrey Langworthy, a former Republican state senator, said, “Moore should be concerned that Kobach worked to register new voters. It was a wakeup call that Kobach would follow [the Rev. Jerry] Falwell around. That shocked some people. And he’s not tried to move to the middle. I don’t agree with Kris on some issues.”

Jean Wise, a former Republican mayor of a Kansas City suburb, added: “Kobach won because I think some moderate Republicans thought it would be easier for Moore to beat him. The [Kansas] Republican Party is split. All this business about unity is baloney.”

Kobach has run an aggressive conservative campaign. His stump speech emphasizes the Patriot Act, which he helped write and implement while working for Ashcroft.

If 2/3rds of the American people support the Patriot Act how can it be said that you aren't appealing to the middle when you run on it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2004 7:59 PM

What I don't understand about the whole Patriot Act debate is why Bush and other Republicans do not announce (every chance they get) that the vote in the Senate was 99-1 (I think) and in the House it was 410-25 (or something like that).

Maybe they think voters are too dumb to understand, but numbers mean something, especially this near-unanimity, which is almost impossible in D.C.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 16, 2004 10:39 PM

Moore has been beating 'social conservatives' for years now. While I like the idea of a guy who has the courage of his convictions more than some backbencher who tailors his views to whatever polling data comes in this week, I have to doubt his chances of winning. The KC suburbs don't lack for sucker moms.

Posted by: Bart at October 17, 2004 2:42 AM

The issue isn't the patriot act for Kobach. Indeed, the problem is that he is largely perceived as an asshole. In the primary, he told all the moderates that if they didn't vote for him in the primary, he didn't need them in the general. The KS GOP is wildly spilt right now, Kobach has decided to urinate in that gap rather than mend it.

Here's the bigger issue: if he gets elected as a US Representative, he won't care about representing too many of his constituients.

Posted by: gjoe at November 1, 2004 1:49 AM