Prairie Politics

‘Box of rocks,’ Sen. Pilcher-Cook take early lead in ‘Stupid’ PAC poll

Screenshot from website
Screenshot from website

The “Stupid Tuesday” primary got off to a rocky start, with a “box of rocks” leading Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook on Wednesday in a Wichita-based political action committee’s online poll to identify the stupidest legislator in Kansas.

“We think we’ve got some ballot stuffing going on today,” by conservatives voting for the box of rocks, said R.J. Dickens, a KCTU-TV personality who launched the committee and is running the poll.

The faux primary election, sponsored by the “It’s Time to Fix Stupid” PAC, is designed to focus attention on and raise money to oppose conservative Republicans in the Kansas Legislature.

The poll opened Tuesday and in first-day balloting, Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, held a steady lead over House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell. But in a few hours Wednesday, the box of rocks – a kind of none-of-the-above choice – vaulted from sixth to first place.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Pilcher-Cook, one of the Legislature’s most conservative lawmakers, still led among human candidates, with Rep. J.R. Claeys, R-Salina, a distant second. Merrick dropped to third and Wichita Sens. Michael O’Donnell and Susan Wagle rounded out the top five.

Pilcher-Cook did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

O’Donnell said he wasn’t troubled by his strong showing and that the Legislature is no place for anyone with a thin skin for criticism.

“I think it’s all in good humor,” he said. “It gives the public an outlet to voice their frustration with Topeka. Some of the things we do I even consider stupid sometimes.”

All the nominees in the poll are Republicans.

Dickens said the PAC got one nomination for a Democrat, Kansas City Rep. Valdenia Winn. Winn faced and beat an ethics complaint brought this year by conservatives who took exception when she called supporters of an anti-immigrant bill racist.

But Winn’s not on the Stupid Tuesday ballot because the nomination was “such a racist screed” that PAC board members “took so much offense to that, we wouldn’t touch it,” Dickens said.

The poll continues through Aug. 22 at the PAC’s website,

Started earlier this year with a group of nine friends in the Wichita area, the PAC has grown to 322 members as of Wednesday, Dickens said.

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or