GOP hopefuls talk at tea party event

Barry Cole is 30 years old and says he's never voted because he's never found a candidate he could believe in.

He came to Saturday's Winter Rally 2010, sponsored by Kansans for Liberty, to try to change that, he said.

As supporters of the tea party milled about Century II's Exhibition Hall, Cole stood with some friends and took it all in.

His political beliefs, he said, come down to five words: "Less government equals more freedom."

Cole said he has attended other tea parties and supports the movement because "unlike Obama, it's time for some real change."

The tea party was part political pep rally and part candidate forum.

"Every single person is here because we know our country is in trouble," organizer Lynda Tyler told the crowd, many of whom dressed in political T-shirts with messages such as "Tyranny Response Team."

Those running to fill U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt's seat in Congress set up booths inside Century II, hoping to sway voters to their side. Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, are vying for a seat in the Senate. Both made brief presentations during the event.

Robert Londerholm, who served as Kansas attorney general from 1965-69 and later as a member and chairman of the Kansas racing commission, also is running in the GOP primary but did not speak at the event.

Earlier in the day, Moran and Tiahrt appeared together on Gene Countryman's show on KNSS 1330-AM, where Moran touted forgoing a move to Washington, D.C., to live in Kansas and Tiahrt embraced his decision to keep his family together in the nation's capital.

Tiahrt took the stage first and said he wants a "limited Constitutional form of government, and I'm willing to fight for it."

He said government bailouts should end, leading a "no more bailouts" chant with the crowd.

"When you get a tax rebate, do you consider that a bailout?" he asked the crowd, then answered, "No, that's your own money."

Moran said everyone should be worried about the nation's future.

"Who wouldn't have a concern about our nation's capital?" he asked. "Our country is bankrupt. Politicians ought to admit it."

He advocated a plan that would do away with federal income taxes and replace the system with a national sales tax.

He also said he supports term limits.

Steve and Vienna Taylor of Wichita attended the rally to "get the Democrats out," Steve Taylor said.

They said they are particularly concerned about the possibility of government-sponsored health care.

"We want them to defeat the health care bill because they're going to take everything away from us," Vienna Taylor said.