In a remarkable bit of journalistic restraint, Jonathan Shorman of the Wichita Eagle reported the announcement by conservative Sen. Caryn Tyson that she will run for Kansas’s open 2nd District House seat without a single implied pejorative. Shorman managed this feat in the face of Tyson’s high rating on the Kansas Policy Institute’s Freedom Index.
There were no words like “ultra” or “extreme” or “far right” or even “right wing.” To boot, the Eagle used a pleasant, flattering photo of Tyson. Whether this change in attitude has something to do with the plummeting fortunes of parent company McClatchy, whose stock is now worth less than half of what it was a year ago, remains to be seen.
Tyson, from Parker, works in the information technology field and helps her husband run the family ranch. In 2017, she served as Senate tax chair and voted against the bill that sent Kansas taxes spiraling back upwards or, as Shorman described it, Tyson “voted against the bill that repealed Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax cuts.” The local media are still struggling with the phrase “tax increase.”
Two solid conservative legislators have already declared for that seat. One is retired Lt. Colonel Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth. When Fitzgerald announced his candidacy the Topeka Capital-Journal described him as a “conservative firebrand.” As the Sentinel noted yesterday, an AP article on gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach also described him as a “conservative firebrand,” which in newsroom Newspeak is not a good thing. Apparently, there are no liberal firebrands. In fact, to read the local media you would not know there are any “liberals” in Kansas, “moderate” being the preferred euphemism.
State Rep. Kevin Jones of Wellsville has also announced his candidacy. An Iraq war vet, Jones largely managed to duck media pejoratives, but the Star did take pleasure in noting that “Jones missed a budget vote during the 2015 legislative session to appear on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior.”
Vernon J. Fields, a Basehor city councilman, has also announced his candidacy. Rumored to be waiting in the wings is Antonio J. Soave, a recent Kansas Secretary of Commerce, who is reportedly emailing would-be backers that he resigned as secretary in order to run for the 2nd District seat. State Sen. Vicky Schmidt, a genuine “moderate” representing the 20th District, is expected to get into the race as well.