The GOP in Sedgwick County is well-oiled, to say the least. The Todd Tiahrt organization's been a wellspring of volunteers and grass-roots muscle ever since he first won in '94, and their sign-waves are some of the most prominent political happenings in the district. But don't count out Democrats in local races -- voter registration is high in Kansas, like elsewhere, and a lot of very motivated first-time voters are coming to the polls.
Saw a guy in a "Rathbun" t-shirt outside a Burger King on South Broadway while talking to Tiahrt's chief of staff. "Must be his brother," he said, referring to the candidate who in 1996 came closest to beating Tiahrt in the election. But that 's the mood right now. You have partisans on both sides pulling out all the stops -- even an 8-year-old t-shirt, if need be. Yes, this isn't a swing state, but don't tell that to folks running for state legislature, judge, or a whole host of other races that don't show up on a larger rader but generate intense interest in their own precincts. Kansas will have no problem setting a voter volume record this year.