Guest column: GOP needs to quit in-party cannibalization

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By Dan Thalmann, Washington (Kan.) County News

As Republicans look forward to a resurgence in this fall’s election on both the state and federal levels after the uninspiring terms of Governor Kelly and President Biden, I’m concerned about infighting and litmus tests and how they could cause trouble for solidarity within the party.
Case in point – the position of Kansas Secretary of State.
Citing questions and concerns about the integrity of recent elections, former Johnson County Commissioner Mike Brown announced in December he would be challenging Scott Schwab for the position of Kansas Secretary of State.
He paints a bleak picture of Schwab, who was elected in 2018. In a campaign video, he says Schwab’s “troubling leadership delivers us to a dark and chaotic place, where fraud and doubt lurk in those shadowy places.”
Quite the manipulative piece of rhetoric there, yet conservative organizations disagree with Brown’s assessment. The Heritage Foundation currently ranks Kansas as 13th in the U.S. on their Election Integrity Scorecard. The Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) has already endorsed Schwab to retain his Secretary of State position.
Just because a sitting official isn’t parroting a buzzy fear narrative doesn’t mean they’re guilty of being some sort of RINO.
Election integrity seems to be the current bogeyman for social media pundits, who are bent on spreading the idea of a “broken election system” everywhere. Should there be questions of election integrity for places like Chicago? Sure. That would be historically fitting. But Kansas? C’mon. Conservatives have plenty of other topics deserving of their attention. We need to quit cannibalizing our own people.
Establishing extreme litmus tests based on the most extraordinary possibilities, and then painting our fellow conservatives as unfit, only hurts the bigger efforts for conservatives in Kansas. Especially when those elected officials run their position with legitimate conservative credentials.
Ignore the cannibals. Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab has operated a strong department and deserves your vote for re-election this fall.