Fight For Control Of Party?

By Jon A. Brake

An organization of fiscal conservative Republicans known as the Republican Assembly started forming in Riley County in March and April and produced several candidates for Precinct Committeeman and Committeewoman but did not make a race in all precincts.

The more liberal wing of the Party saw that this could be a race for control of the Party in Riley County. Cards and letters were sent out by both sides asking voters to support their candidates.

After Tuesday balloting the Assembly had won several seats but not enough. Leaders of the group were pleased and said they are looking for the next contest in 2004.

A letter sent out by the by the more liberal wing said: "A number of social conservatives have filed to run for local precinct committee places, apparently hoping to win a majority in order to take control of the Republican Party in Riley County."

The letter also called the Republican Assembly members "social conservatives (pro-choice)" and did not state that the organization is made up of fiscal conservatives as in wanting to cut taxes and balance all budgets.

Here is the letter:

Dear Fellow Republican,

We are writing to make you aware of the importance of the August primary election. A number of social conservatives have filed to run for local precinct committee places, apparently hoping to win a majority in order to take control of the Republican Party in Riley County.

As your neighborhood precinct committeeman and committeewoman, we are traditional, moderate Republicans. Under moderate Republican Party holds all three Riley County seats in the Kansas House of Representatives, both seats in the Kansas Senate, all three County Commission places, and all but one of the county offices. We would appreciate your continued support in the upcoming election.

Please vote in the primary and vote for us. You can easily vote ahead of time if you will be out of town on Election Day by calling the County Clerk at 537-0700. Our election will help to make certain the Republican Party in Riley County and in Kansas continues to find capable candidates who will be good officeholders."

The letter was signed by the precinct committeeman and committeewoman.

Many for the Assembly sent out post cards to voter which were a little more standard, stating: "Our Republican Party has a rich tradition of strong, principled leadership that has seen America through some of its darkest hours. But strong leadership doesnít just happen. The Republican Party is strong because itís foundation rest on the shoulder of strong people like (the voters name).