Monday, July 10, 2006

Making the Jump

There seems to be a lot of Republicans these days who don't seem to want to stomach the GOP's lurch to the far right any longer. The Democrat running against George Allen in Virginia is a former Republican who switched parties because he felt that the GOP no longer tolerated moderates. Additionally, three Republicans in Kansas have switched parties for the same reason.

The Kansas City Star has their reasons behind the move to the Democratic party

Candidates explain why they switched
The Kansas City Star

Ending lifelong allegiances to the Republican Party in Kansas was no simple matter.

“I didn’t sleep well that night,” said Kent Goyen of Pratt, who’s running for the 114th District seat.

But each of the party jumpers had a common tonic — visits with Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, either in person or by telephone.

Those talks eased the way for several new Democrats.

“She said we are all Kansans,” said Judy Leyerzapf of Abilene. “I think that’s a great answer. We’re all about the same thing, really.”

Whether the state is seeing the beginning of a trend that features a more robust Democratic Party and a Kansas GOP shorn of its moderate base remains to be seen.

In other words, some of the new Democrats have to win in November if the party jumping is to continue.


Steve Lukert, Sabetha

Age: 58

Occupation: Farmer, retired government teacher

Running for: 62nd District House seat

Switched parties because: Two reasons. He ran for the state Senate two years ago in the GOP primary and lost, but said he was disillusioned by the tactics used to defeat him. “I was put off by the meanness of the campaign within the Republican Party and the intentional misrepresentations,” Lukert said.

For example, he says he was portrayed as a baby killer even though he considers himself anti-abortion and would bar abortions except when the mother’s health is at risk.

Any regrets? Nope. “The far right tends to have a no-way-or-the-highway type of mentality. They’d rather have nothing than to have to give in at all. That’s just not my mentality.

“I see the Democrats as more willing to compromise on issues in order to come up with more sensible solutions. I think about half of the Democratic Party is very conservative.”


Kent Goyen, Pratt

Age: 55

Occupation: Farmer and substitute teacher

Running for: 114th District House seat

Switched parties because: “The Republican Party has gotten a little far away from where it ought to be. It’s probably just a little too far right. Philosophically, they’re trying to control too many things in people’s lives that they shouldn’t be controlling.”


Cindy Neighbor, Shawnee

Age: 57

Occupation: Marketing, public relations, patient care and human relations for a dental practice

Running for: 18th District House seat

Switched parties because: “Several things in the (Republican) platform were not what I thought I could agree with. They’re supporting (school) vouchers and tax credits and the teaching of creationism over evolution.

“All of that just went against what I really had grown up with, I think, as being a moderate Republican. I said I thought the Republican Party left me. I didn’t leave it.”

Any regrets? “It was actually a feeling of relief. (The reaction) has been very positive. I haven’t had any negative comments.

“When I talk to them (Democrats), they don’t say if you disagree with us you don’t count.”

H/T Kos

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