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Margaret Carlson

The Backlash in Kansas

Deep red Kansas may end up deciding which party controls the Senate.
A storm may be brewing.
A storm may be brewing.

The 2004 best-seller “What's the Matter With Kansas?” claimed that voters there had it all backward: They were acting against their own interests by continuing to support Republicans whose economic policies favored the rich. Kansans might keep their guns and protect their marriages from gays, but they didn’t have jobs.

Ten years later, the people of Kansasmay settle the question by throwing two of the state's most vaunted Republican public officials out of office. Former two-term Senator Sam Brownback is trailing a little-known Democrat, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, in his bid for re-election as governor. Brownback swooped into the statehouse in 2011 and turned Kansas into a laboratory of such pure conservatism that he has caused a schism in his party. More than 100 current and former Republican state officeholders have pledged support to his challenger.