Brownback stumps for Barnett at stop Friday in Leavenworth
Sam Brownback insists it will take more than money and name recognition to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
The U.S. senator from Topeka told Leavenworth County Republicans last week their influence could propel state Sen. Jim Barnett, Republican candidate for governor, to a victory in the Nov. 7 election.
"Everybody around you looks to you for how they're gonna vote," Brownback said. "You influence a whole bunch of people, and that's the way these things actually happen. People think it's the television ads : or who's got the most money. It's actually word of mouth."
The Republican duo aimed to get Kansans talking as they wrapped up a day of barnstorming Friday afternoon, Oct. 13, at High Noon Saloon in Leavenworth, where about 60 supporters gathered for a campaign rally.
Brownback accompanied Barnett, of Emporia, on a series of stops in Topeka, Manhattan and Salina earlier in the day.
Leavenworth County Republicans played host to the event, which Brownback said yielded the biggest crowd on Friday's campaign stops.
He urged Barnett's supporters to keep talking about the race and the issues important to them.
Citing Democratic Gov. John Carlin's win over incumbent Republican Gov. Bob Bennett in 1978, Brownback reminded Barnett's supporters of the unpredictable nature of Kansas' gubernatorial elections.
"These things bounce funny. Anybody that watches football, you know when the football is kicked, it goes and if you let it hit the ground, you don't know which way it's gonna go," Brownback said.
When it came to the issues, Barnett's speech touched on several familiar themes heard throughout his campaign to unseat Sebelius.
He cited a lagging economy, inadequate health care, high taxes, soft immigration policies and a lack of control in the state budget as the challenges facing Kansans.
Barnett told supporters the recent school finance debate had demonstrated the need to rein in the judicial branch.
"This state needs to regain control of our budget. We gave it away to the Kansas Supreme Court," he said.
After the speech, Barnett said he viewed the creation and retention of jobs and maintaining the strong military presence in the Leavenworth area as key issues facing Leavenworth County residents.
The visit came less than a month after the Leavenworth County Republican Women's Club played host to his running mate, state Sen. Susan Wagle, of Wichita.
"Leavenworth is a key place, we believe, for this part of the state," Barnett said. "The message I talked about - funding schools, growing the economy, dealing with illegal immigration, dealing with health care - are issues that all Kansans come home to."
Barnett, a physician, also talked about a need to reform health care without "expanding entitlements and increasing taxes."
He told supporters he would work on health care reform with fellow Republican state legislators Rep. Kenny Wilk, of Lansing, and Sen. Roger Pine, of Lawrence, who were in the audience Friday.
"We have 300,000 uninsured Kansans and 47 million uninsured Americans. We can change that," Barnett said. "We can change that dramatically with someone who understands health care in the Office of Governor."
Leavenworth resident Dorsey Love attended the rally Friday and said she supported Barnett's pledge to lower taxes and improve economic development.
"Our state is way down the list in job growth, and if we don't do something about it, it's gonna be a ghost state. Where are people gonna work if they don't have jobs available? The jobs are not here, and that's sad."