Kansas Democrats have two weeks to avoid embarrassment.
June 1 is the deadline for candidates to file for the August primary elections. As of Wednesday, no Democrat had filed, or announced an intention to file, for three statewide races: attorney general, treasurer and insurance commissioner.
These aren’t nothing jobs. They oversee three important areas of state government, and they’re half the statewide elected offices. Democrats are in danger of forfeiting them — with one race lacking a Republican incumbent and another with an appointed GOP incumbent.
Ethan Corson, director of the Kansas Democratic Party, said there will be Democratic candidates by the filing deadline and they won’t be placeholders.
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Hate to quibble here, but how can they be strong Democratic candidates in red-state Kansas if they haven’t already introduced themselves to voters?
Down-ballot races don’t receive much media attention and candidates don’t spend as much as in a governor’s race, so Democrats announcing candidacies without name recognition this late have long odds to win. Unless Carlin, Sebelius and Parkinson are warming up in the bullpen.
This is a terrible look for Democrats, who the last two years have had reason for optimism. Voters in 2016 elected more legislative Democrats (49, up 13 members) and moderate Republicans, who teamed to end another year of tax cuts in 2017 with an override of Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto.
By not filling up the ballot, or filling it with late entries, it’s a sign to voters that Democrats don’t think they can keep up the momentum.
It’s one thing to lose an election. It’s another to not try to win.