Move splinters Kansas Republicans
Moderate Republicans fired the latest round Wednesday in the battle for the heart and soul of the state party, announcing formation of the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority.
In a sharply worded statement, Andy Wollen, chairman of the group, appealed to Republicans who are "distressed by the politics of hate and intolerance that too often dominate our party."
"We will no longer concede the good Republican name to extremist Republicans who push a narrow social agenda but lack any real solutions to the problems facing Kansas," he said.
The group said that under current party leadership, candidates are subjected to a litmus test on divisive social issues such as abortion.
Jack Ranson of Wichita, former National Republican Committee member, is on the new group's board of directors, which is dominated by Johnson County Republicans. The board also includes former Senate President Dick Bond of Johnson County and former Senate Majority Leader Tim Emert of Independence.
Ryan Wright, executive director of the new organization, said more Wichita board members will be added.
The new Republican group should not be a shock to party members, said Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University.
"It makes official what has long been taking place within the Republican Party. Now we have factions that are openly warring with each other," he said.
Pull up a chair and watch the sparks fly.