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Noonletter, Oct. 8, 2018

Crysta Henthorne
Kansas News Service


President Donald Trump came to Topeka Saturday and did what he usually does: Told a thrilled room of supporters how well he’s doing as president.

He also stumped for fellow Republican Kris Kobach in the governor’s race and for Steve Watkins in an eastern Kansas congressional race.

Kobach has said before, and repeated Saturday in Topeka, that he wants to do for Kansas what the president has done for Washington. That, essentially, is the choice in the race between him and Democrat Laura Kelly.

Here’s the story on Trump’s visit.

Kansas governor’s mansion is Trump farm club?

Trump says a lot of things off the (cufflinked) cuff. On Saturday, he threw out a line about Gov. Jeff Colyer (Trump had endorsed Kobach over Colyer in the gubernatorial primary).

“We have to talk to him about bringing him down to Washington or something,” Trump said in Topeka.

After interviewing “a source close to Colyer,” the Kansas City Star then suggested that Trump was making room in the federal government for Colyer after his lame-duck term.

The Trump administration already absorbed Sam Brownback, whose departure for an ambassadorship lifted Colyer into the governorship. The Star story could not confirm any talks on the record with Trump officials or Colyer’s office.

Gonna be close

Remington Research Group, a Republican polling and political consulting firm based in Kansas City, has a survey out suggesting the race between Kobach and Kelly is way too close to call.  It’s been reported here and elsewhere.

  • Kelly 42 percent
  • Kobach 41 percent
  • Greg Orman, an independent, 10 percent
  • Jeff Caldwell, the Libertarian in the race, 2 percent
  • Rick Kloos, another independent 1 percent
  • Undecided 4 percent

It’s a beefy survey of nearly 1,700 likely voters polled from Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 with a margin of error of 2.4 percent. (It reflects the close race found in other polls.)
Notable is the relatively small pool of undecided voters, people likely to split much like the rest of the field or stay home. The key, to repeat a truism, is whose voters will bother to get out on Election Day. Typically, Republicans have a turn-out edge in off-year elections like this one.

Getting the lead out

The cleanup of mining and smelting contamination can often be super-slow. Years. Decades. Generations. The residents of southeast Kansas know this all too well. For roughly a century, mining stained soil and water in their corner of the state with lead, and the feds have been trying to clean it since the 1980s.

Now they’re touting some progress. Federal and state environmental officials are done tearing up and replacing hundreds of contaminated properties in Caney, Kansas. Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports.

More bad TV

Here are some fresh ads. (Thanks again to the Washburn University political science faculty for compiling political spots for us. And another reminder of its impressive archive.)

And a reminder: Political ads are awful. They are not helpful. Don’t base your vote on them. Even when they’re factually accurate, facts are spun not to be helpful to the voter, but to be helpful or unhelpful to a campaign.

Disregard them. All of them. Rarely is something bad they say about a candidate a fair reflection of the facts. Good things they say about candidates are similarly skewed.

Good civics doesn’t happen in 15- or 30-second snippets of video paid for by people who want more influence over the workings of government.

Many scare tactics below. So watch as cynically as possible. 

Scott Canon is digital editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @ScottCanon.

 Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. 

As the editor of a statewide news outlet, I aspire to work with our reporters to give Kansans a clear-eyed view of the place they call home. That means delivering hard-hitting stories that expose those things that keep Kansas from being the most vibrant, healthy place it can be. You can reach me at scott@kcur.org or 816-235-8023.
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