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For today’s article, I’ll copy below my mail newsletter today, in which I discuss the 4th District County Commission race. In summary: the number one reason that Jason Osterhaus won was because he out-worked his opponent. Alongside this, Osterhaus communicated a clear, simple, economically conservative, Republican message to all voters; he did not pretend to be all things to all people. The voters were receptive to this message, and while Osterhaus did not have the money to send mail out about his message, he one-upped Larry Winn by communicating the message face-to-face, at the voters’ doors.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A More Conservative County Commission
The biggest upset in Kansas: Jason Osterhaus defeats liberal establishment icon Larry Winn
Number two upset: Michael Ashcraft defeats Doug Wood for 5th District County Commission
Congratulations to Commissioners-elect Michael Ashcraft and Jason Osterhaus
There was much exciting news from the November 2, 2010 election cycle. Right now, I’d like to talk about two races, and how these two elections demonstrate that:
Both elections were within the Johnson County Commission. By about 100 votes, Michael Ashcraft defeated 12-year incumbent Doug Wood. And by a huge 1400-vote margin (53% to 47%), Jason Osterhaus defeated Larry Winn the Third.
There is one at-large chair, and there are six districts. Each district is larger than a Kansas Senate district in population. The county’s annual budget is approaching a billion dollars, and wasted/fraudulent spending is all to easy given that it merely takes four votes to approve spending (contrast that to the state or federal government, where both the House chamber and the Senate chamber must approve the same law, and then the law must be signed by a separate chief executive).
The dominant issues in both of these races were these:
The biggest upset in the state of Kansas
The biggest upset in Kansas during 2010 — and perhaps over the last decade — was in the Overland Park-based 4th District, where Jason Osterhaus defeated Larry Winn 53% to 47%. To be clear, this district:
For a humorous take on this election, I’ll encourage you to read an editorial at the regional news site Kaw and Border. In “Winn, Lose, or Make Excuses,” the author looks at a recent Johnson County Sun article, and applies the Kubler-Ross model of the “Five Stages of Grief” to two Larry Winn supporters who were interviewed for the Sun article.
In our final poll before the election, we learned that:
(above margin of error 6.1%)
Compare the favorability numbers:
(above margin of error 6.5%)
Of the four names above, you can see that Kris Kobach has the highest “very favorable” numbers, that Jason Osterhaus has the highest overall favorable numbers, that Kris Kobach’s “very favorable” numbers are greater than Steve Rose’s total favorable numbers, and that 1/3 of voters either have no opinion or haven’t heard of Steve Rose, who uses his weekly front-page column to lie about conservatives, and to promote the religious belief that local government is nothing but wonderful in Johnson County.
What Jason Osterhaus was up against
The local political and news establishment did not think Jason Osterhaus had a chance. Many Republicans did not think Jason Osterhaus had a chance. To some degree, it made sense that Larry Winn should easily have won. Jason Osterhaus only raised $10,000 and nobody had heard of him six months ago.
Meanwhile, Larry Winn:
Why Jason Osterhaus won
The most important reason to why Jason Osterhaus won is that he walked door to door and met voters, while Larry Winn merely sent out mail with the implied message of, “I’m the guy.”
Other important factors for Jason Osterhaus:
Again, congratulations to both Michael Ashcraft and Jason Osterhaus for winning their races. Congratulations to the many, many volunteers who helped out their campaigns.
To conclude, I want to again emphasize two things:
– Ideas and issues win elections.
– Underdogs still can win in American politics.
Thank you for your time, as always.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).