The conservative wing of the Republican Party has spent the last 20 years seeking control of all three branches of state government, said Joe Aistrup, political science professor at Kansas State University. They have now succeeded. They will govern from the right.
Republican representatives in Kansas, he said, will not be dissuaded by the Democratic trends in other states. If anything, he said, Republicans are likely to increase pressure for a conservative agenda.
Republican control in the state has been aided by Democrats, who havent been able to find serious candidates for most offices for several years. U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder and Tim Huelskamp, Republican freshmen from Kansas, had no Democratic opponents in their first re-election campaigns.
Some Kansas Democrats complain privately about a lack of help from the national party, which spent time and energy on Obamas re-election while casting noncompetitive states adrift. But they also say its tough to compete against offers of massive tax cuts and spending reductions.
The Democratic message has been very complicated, said Kansas Democratic Party director Joan Wagnon. Its, Take a look at this, its going to cost you for things such as school funds and roads.
Kansas moderates are endangered for more reasons than weak candidates or bad organization. The rural, socially conservative culture of the state, experts said, makes it increasingly difficult for middle-of-the-road candidates to break through.
Romney won nearly 60 percent of the Kansas vote Tuesday, a bigger margin for the nominee than in Texas or Indiana.
Theres nothing the matter with Kansas from a Republican outlook.
Kansans generally are not big-government people, said Alan Cobb of Americans for Prosperity, a leading conservative group. I think a true conservative Democrat could win in Kansas, but I think its a reflection of their party that they dont have many of those.
Despite their victories, cracks in the solid conservative Republican bloc could begin to show early next year.
Some lawmakers may take a harder position on sales taxes in Kansas than Brownback would prefer, perhaps provoking a party split. At the same time, pressure is increasing on the party to soften its stand on immigration. Secretary of State Kobach has made tougher immigration laws his decades-long national crusade.
More broadly, Kobach says Kansans who disagree with the states tilt are free to leave.
Americans can vote with their feet, he said, and choose a state that reflects their values and the way of life theyd like to enjoy.
If a person wants to live in a San Francisco lifestyle, they can go there. If they want to live a Kansas lifestyle, they can come here.