The announcement of endorsements by the state’s two Kansas Republican Assemblies — both of which operate under the same name — Tuesday brought to light what has been a nearly decade-long, simmering feud between the two groups.
The Kansas Republican Assembly based out of Wichita endorsed Tiahrt for the U.S. Senate seat while the KRA group out of Topeka did not endorse a Senate candidate as its voters did not have a 2/3 majority required to endorse. The group instead endorsed Tim Huelskamp for the 1st District and Brownback for governor.
Both groups claim they are the “original” group and claim the other is a “rogue” organization trying to impersonate the other. The war between the two groups originated from a fall-out among the original KRA members in the late 1990s. After the split, both groups refused to give up the KRA name so now the state has two KRAs that won’t work together or attempt to play nice with one another.
Caught in the middle of this ridiculous battle are the candidates each endorsed. Both groups claim the other groups endorsements are meaningless with the KRA out of Topeka going so far as to call on Tiahrt to “refuse” the endorsement of the Wichita KRA group.
Trying to get to the bottom of the who’s who and what’s what is just as frustrating. Each group gives their side of the story. At least the KRA of Wichita took the time to speak to us. KRA of Topeka simply sent out a blanket press release which only contained more group propaganda.
With each group claiming that the other is “not the official Kansas Republican Assembly” the endorsements amount to little and the situation becomes a headache that begs the question why one of the groups just doesn’t change their name.