In a debate between incumbent Phill Kline and challenger Paul Morrison this exchange stands out:
“I have never, and never will, view a church as a political machine for me,” Morrison said.
Kline responded by inviting the audience to come hear him speak Saturday at a Topeka church.
“The separation, so called, of church and state refers to government not imposing a religion,” Kline said.
This is accurate, but the “so called” is an unfortunate little qualifier to attach. Given the way that various Republican officials like to trivialize the fundamental protections of the 1st amendment, I have a hard time reading that charitably.
Apparently, Kansans in general are feeling uncharitable toward Kline. His puritanical invasions of medical records and a history of partisan hackery make him the only incumbent in a recent poll who is on the rocks with voters.
While incumbent Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius is up 58% to 38% against Jim Barnett, and incumbent Republicans are also in the 60% range against their challengers for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner, Kline is tied with Morrison, 51% to 48%. Over 61% of Independents favor Morrison, Democrats are committed to Morrison (89% support) and Kline is not as strong among Republicans (only 78% support). This will be a squeaker, but Kline is looking very weak.
SUSA found that 35% of Republicans were ready to vote for Sebelius’s re-election.