By Diane Silver
Political reporter Steve Kraske headlines The Kanasas City Star today with an interesting look at the race for Kansas governor -- or should I say the non-race.
Kraske's portrait of the campaign is one of unrelieved doom and gloom for Republican state Sen. Jim Barnett, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Kraske writes:
Outside the Barnett camp, hardly anyone is giving him much of a shot. Asked about Barnett's chances, Kansas State University political scientist Joe Aistrup said: "You hate to say zero. That's the reason you have elections. But right now his chances are not good."Kraske reports that not even the Republicans think Barnett has a chance.
"I'd say right now there's one statewide race, which is the attorney general's race," said state Sen. David Wysong, a Mission Hills Republican.What's making the climb so steep for Barnett? The "ongoing tranquillity of the race," Aistrup told Kraske.
Challengers have a hard time knocking off incumbents when no one is paying attention.The split within the Kansas Republican Party between conservatives and moderates also lead to a seven-candidate GOP primary. That left Barnett's campaign war chest drained. Sebelius did not face a Democratic challenger.
I knew Kraske when I covered the Statehouse for The Wichita Eagle and always found him to be a careful and fair reporter. I'd pay attention to what he says.
Barnett just got his first ads on the air. I haven't seen them yet, but a friend who heard the radio ad describes a fairly nasty negative commercial. Meanwhile, Sebelius' TV commercials -- at least four different ones -- have been on the air for months.
Barnett's web site looks darn near abandoned. The latest news release posted is dated June 26, 2006. Sebelius' web site home page pop's up with her latest commercial, although the most recent news release posted is dated Aug. 11, 2006.
As a public service, I'm posting a photo of Barnett so folks in Kansas will, at least, know what the GOP candidate looks like.