Four for Four
The president of the McPherson school board will seek a seat on the State Board of Education held by a member of the conservative majority that controls it.You read that right. She discussed the matter with Peirce and decided that they would settle the matter with a coin toss. This is essentially the pre-primary primary for the moderate Republicans, I guess.
Donna Viola said if she unseats Kenneth Willard, of Hutchinson, a priority would be to remove Bob Corkins, the education commissioner who was picked in October by the board's conservatives on a 6-4 vote.
Because Corkins had no prior experience as either a teacher or school administrator and is a supporter of school vouchers and charter schools, his selection has not gone over well with many local school officials.
Viola would face Willard in the Aug. 1 Republican primary. Her selection as a challenger was the result of the flip of a coin after she met last week with another potential candidate, Hutchinson attorney Ken Peirce, whose wife is a principal in the Hutchinson school district.
Viola doesn't want to focus on the evolution issue, preferring to focus on (gasp!) management of the state school system.
Her announcement means that a challenger exists for every conservative up for election, and more than one in most races.
Here are the challengers that I know of, by alphabetically per incumbent
Bacon: Harry McDonald (R), David Oliphant (R) and Don Weiss (D)
Morris: Sally Cauble (R) and Tim Cruz (D) (I believe I've lost some other names of announced candidates)
Willard: Donna Viola (R)
Van Meter: Kent Runyan (D) and Jana Shaver (R)
If I've left any names off, let me know.
Update: Forgot Oliphant in the 3rd.
I also forgot to repeat the most important political axiom ever. "Early money is like yeast, it helps to raise the dough." A $10 contribution now helps your favorite candidate raise $100 if you give it early, and that $100 can raise a few thousand by the election. These people will spend no less that $30,000, and probably twice that, to win a position that carries essentially no pay and no opportunities for patronage. This is a special kind of commitment, so donate now and donate often.
It's also worth noting that since the conservative creationist board members all happen to be Republican, it makes sense to register Republican by at least a month before the primaries. You can switch back to Democratic (or Independent) if you choose.