The Corner

Little Musical Chairs on the Prairie

Kansas’s GOP Sen. Sam Brownback has just filed papers appointing a campaign-committee treasurer in support of his effort to replace Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius when she is forced by state law to step down in 2010. Brownback, who made a short-lived run for the Republican presidential nomination, had already promised to leave the Senate when his term expired.

He’ll face a lesser-known “moderate” Republican secretary of state in the GOP primary. If he should win, he’ll become the first conservative governor in Kansas history. (He won’t face much opposition in the general election. Other than Sebelius, the Kansas Democratic party has few candidates that match Brownback’s stature — although newly appointed state treasurer Dennis McKinney, a hero of the Greenburg twister, might give it a go.)

Sebelius, meanwhile, is likely to seek Brownback’s Senate seat. Her opposition will be one of two conservative U.S. congressmen, Jerry Moran or Todd Tiahrt, whose primary campaign will be one of mutually assured destruction.

There’s been gossip that Sebelius may have stepped on a mine in the vetting process, thus explaining why she’s not in Obama’s Cabinet-to-be. And there have been poll-less rumors that her state approval ratings are plummeting, since her policies have helped drive Kansas’s economy south, by which I don’t mean to Oklahoma. But for now, she’s considered a frontrunner in any statewide race, even though both of her runs for governor have been against weaker-than-usual GOP candidates.

Denis BoylesDennis Boyles is a writer, editor, former university lecturer, and the author/editor of several books of poetry, travel, history, criticism, and practical advice, including Superior, Nebraska (2008), Design Poetics (1975), ...

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