Estes win – President Trump won Kansas’ 4th District in 2016 by 27 points. Last Tuesday, in the first national test of the Republican Party’s electoral strength since November, Republican Ron Estes claimed the seat in the Wichita-area district by a mere 7 points. A win is a win, but underwhelming it was.
Brownback – Sam Brownback is no longer the least popular governor in the U.S. — after “Bridgegate” and his opportunistic early endorsement of Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has stolen that dubious honor. However, with his 27 percent approval rating, Brownback remains the country’s second-least popular governor. And Kansas remains a state in crisis.
Tax plan – When the Kansas Senate was unable to override the governor’s veto in February of a tax bill, legislators were quick to say there was still plenty of time and that other plans were waiting in the wings. Seven weeks later, the idea bank is empty and there’s precious little time left. The best strategy remaining is to take another run at the plan that almost worked the first time and make sure it does the second.
Beer bill – Both the Kansas House and Senate passed a measure that would do away with an antiquated requirement that weaker beer – 3.2 percent alcohol – be sold in grocery and convenience stores. In exchange, liquor stores would be allowed to sell tobacco products, ice and other products previously barred by state law. This measure seems a reasonable compromise that both lifts a silly restriction from most beer consumers and preserves the remainder of the alcohol market for small, locally owned liquor stores.