Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Distilled spirits

The gear-up to the GOP Convention is beginning. Got my first two party invites this week -- one to the Distilled Spirits Council "Celebrate the Spirits of New York" event and another to a buffet and performance by Travis Tritt honoring Sen. Pat Roberts, among others. (Tritt's got a new album out, BTW -- "Honky Tonk History." Yee haw.) Difficult, difficult tasks, but prepared am I.

On the topic of difficult tasks, Roberts kept the push for a powerful national intelligence director yesterday, saying the window for major intel reform is brief, and closing. The whole debate's getting a lot of wind due to the prominence of the 9/11 Commission's August push for reform -- 'twill be interesting to see how it plays out after Labor Day, when campaigning swallows up everything else.

And in yet another piece of Kansas political weirdness, the loser of the Democratic Party Senate primary might get a second shot at the nomination after a meeting in Wichita on Saturday. Here's what's happened: Party favorite Lee Jones, a 53-year-old railroad worker/lobbyist, unexpectedly lost the party primary to 76-year-old-retiree-to-the-political-right-of-incumbent-Sen.-Sam-Brownback Robert Conroy on Aug. 3. Conroy basically entered the race against Brownback, who non-Martian political analysts consider a heavy favorite to win re-election, for kicks -- he never expected to actually win the primary.

But he did, and now he doesn't want to run this fall. That opens the door to Jones, who said he's interested. That would mean an actual Democrat will run against Brownback this fall -- which (and this says disturbing things about Kansas Democrats this year) is in itself a success for the party in 2004, given their travails in finding a candidate.

(Article on Conroy-Jones brought to you by Jessica Marshall of The Johnson County Sun. I'm thinking that's the same Jessica Marshall I used to work with in Wichita. Must e-mail her and find out.)