Republican Tim Huelskamp was endorsed by the Kansas Farm Bureau today, with a strong statement of support by KFB President Steve Baccus.
“Our members recognize if you want to define high ethical values, common sense and respect for life, you look at Tim Huelskamp,” Baccus said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. Baccus also pointed out that when the country was founded, nearly all the representatives were full-time farmers. Now, they’re are only three.
Huelskamp was, of course, grateful for the endorsement, saying, “I think Washington D.C. is populated by people with little to no understanding of rural issues. I’m honored to have KFB’s support.”
However, his Democratic rival for the 1st District seat, Alan Jilka, wasted no time attacking KFB’s choice.
“With this endorsement, the Farm Bureau has abandoned Kansas farmers,” Jilka said.
Jilka’s criticism centers around the support Club for Growth gave to Huelskamp in the primary, as stated in Jilka’s release:
The Club for Growth, which features more than 20 articles on its website condemning farm subsidies, is Huelskamp’s top campaign donor, with $110,065 in campaign expenditures. According to Federal Election Commission records, the group’s political action committee paid most of the money to an ad agency in Maryland to run attack ads against Huelskamp’s primary opponent Jim Barnett. The group endorsed Huelskamp in September 2009.
Jilka went on to say, “Agriculture is the backbone of the Kansas economy. It’s unfortunate that an anti-farmer special interests group devoted to destroying our way of life can have so much influence over a candidate. Tim Huelskamp should immediately return the money this special interest group has donated to him, reject their endorsement, and renounce their position that farm subsidies are hurting America,”
FEC reports show that Club for Growth did independently expend over $100,000 in television ads against former 1st District candidate Jim Barnett, and endorsed Huelskamp in the primary.
During the call, Huelskamp said he supports the subsidies, but sees ways the current system could be improved.
CORRECTION: A $9,558 figure was incorrectly identified as a direct contribution to the Huelskamp campaign. It was, in fact, an independent expenditure. I apologize for the error, and the statement has been redacted from this post.