TOPEKA, (KSNT)— The 2022 race for governor is heating up with what appears to be the latest of several political attacks ahead of the upcoming election.
The Kansas Democratic Party, KDP, launched a new website, called “Back to Brownback,” on Monday, along with a social media profile on Twitter.
Both platforms are aimed at Republican front-runner Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt and democratic incumbent Governor Laura Kelly are expected to face-off this November.
The new platform slams Schmidt for a long-list of what they say are past offenses under the Brownback administration.
“Derek Schmidt green-lit Sam Brownback’s harmful agenda that kept public schools underfunded and tanked the state’s economy. Kansans want to move forward and continue down the path of economic growth and success achieved under Governor Kelly. Our new website – BacktoBrownback.com – will hold Schmidt accountable for threatening to bring Kansas back to a time of mismanaged budgets, billions of dollars in debt, and four-day school weeks. Kansans won’t go back to Brownback.”Emma O’Brien, Spokesperson for the Kansas Democratic Party
Monday marks four years since Brownback resigned. In an exclusive interview, O’Brien told Kansas Capitol Bureau that they want to remind Kansans of the Attorney General’s “track record.”
However, the information included on the website only cites one of the incidents mentioned. When asked about references to other information, O’Brien said her team is “confident” in their sources.
The website accuses Schmidt of defending Brownback’s effort to “drain” the Kansas Highway Fund of $2 billion to support his “failed tax experiment.” They claim that this left 1,000 miles of Kansas highways neglected from routine maintenance. It also points to public schools being “underfunded” during Schmidt’s time as Senate Majority Leader and his opposition to Medicaid expansion as a state senator.
The platform also accuses him of “self-dealing” during the extreme winter-weather in February last year, citing a report from The Kansas Reflector. According to the report, Schmidt owns 240 acres of land and a natural gas lease in Labette County. The KDP webpage claims that the Attorney General profited from a spike in natural gas bills for thousands of Kansans.
A spokesman for Schmidt’s campaign responded to accusations made on the website in an email to Kansas Capitol Bureau Monday.
“Governor Kelly’s campaign wants to distract you from her failed governorship. They’re desperate not to talk about her heavy-handed worst-in-the-country COVID response, her failure to deliver on a single campaign promise from 2018, and her administration’s inept management of state government that sent $700 million in taxpayer funds to fraudsters while unemployed Kansans couldn’t even get their phone calls answered. Derek will continue to focus on his positive vision for moving Kansas beyond the mess the Kelly Administration has made.”CJ Grover, Campaign Manager for “Schmidt for Kansas”
KDP’s website is the one of the most recent smear attacks, as both parties fight for the governor’s seat.
This comes about a week after the Republican Governor’s Association launched their own campaign against Governor Kelly, blaming her for the state’s high food sales tax.
The governor has pushed for a full elimination of the state’s hefty food sales tax, in hopes of fulfilling a campaign promise this year. However, she also vetoed a Republican plan to gradually reduce the food sales tax in 2019.
“It wasn’t until Kelly’s Republican opponent, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, sent a letter to state lawmakers calling for the elimination of the tax in the upcoming legislative session that Kelly suddenly remembered her unkept campaign promise and echoed the same call. The state’s legislative session is currently under way.”REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR’S ASSOCIATION
The KDP later responded to the accusation in a press release.
“The RGA has to stoop to lies about Governor Kelly because they know Derek Schmidt’s record doesn’t hold up. With a history of voting to increase the state’s food sales tax, Schmidt is trying to sell Kansans rotten eggs. Instead of playing politics, Schmidt should be encouraging his colleagues to get a clean bill on Governor Kelly’s desk to cut these costs for Kansas families once and for all.”Emma O’Brien, Spokesperson for the KDP