The Kansas governor's race is unfolding as a referendum on Sam Brownback's disastrous run.
This week, when the debate moderator asked the three candidates for Kansas governor to raise a hand if they thought former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback did a good job in office, only the hand of Kris Kobach shot up.
The fact that Kobach, a Republican Trump loyalist, is locked in a toss-up race with Democrat Laura Kelly in the deeply red state of Kansas, which Trump won Kansas by 20 points, is largely because next week’s election is unfolding as a referendum on Brownback and his wildly controversial seven-year tenure as governor.
Kobach is not only standing by Brownback’s side, as the raise-your-hand debate moment captured, but he’s pledging to bring back Brownback’s failed tax experiment agenda, which bankrupted the state.
Kobach’s onboard for all of it, as he pledged “full throttled conservatism.” That means revisiting the doomed governor’s blueprint of slashing taxes and dramatically cutting state spending, which would further eviscerate state services.
Before leaving office to become a Trump ambassador in January, an astounding 66 percent of Kansans disapproved of Brownback’s work as the governor, making him the second least popular governor in the country.
But now Kobach wants to bring that all back. He wants to bring back the state’s huge budget shortfalls, the school shutdowns, and the credit downgrades.
The near panic that lots of Kansas Republicans are feeling about Kobach’s embrace of Brownback’s doomsday finances is what’s driving so many of them to endorse the Democrat in this race.
“Governor Brownback’s grand experiment was a complete and utter failure,” stresses the state’s former Republican governor Bill Graves, who’s supporting Kelly.
“Kris Kobach wants to repeat the Brownback experiment we fought so hard to end,” warned former Senate president Dick Bond, a Johnson County Republican. “He will take those dangerous policies even further and devastate Kansas.”
And in its recent endorsement of Kelly, the Kansas City Star also made the same claim: “The election of Republican Kris Kobach would be an inexplicable step backwards and a bitter rerun of the Brownback years that proved so devastating to state services.”
Kansas voters will soon decide if they get to relive those Brownback days.