One would think that Nadya Faulx, writing for KCUR, had a preferred candidate for governor other than Kansas Democratic House Leader Jim Ward.
“I wanna move Kansas forward,” Faulx quotes Ward as telling a crown of supporters in Wichita. “I love Kansas. There’s no other place I would rather call home.”
Wanna? Wichita mayor Carl Brewer and former state representative Josh Svaty will provide Ward primary competition in this, the first contested Democratic primary in twenty years. They all promise fiscal responsibility, good schools, more jobs.
Jonathan Shorman and Bryan Lowry, writing for the McClatchy papers, offer a more rounded perspective on the Ward candidacy and a surprisingly nuanced one for a Democrat. They note the fact, for instance, that in 2007 Ward was arrested for a DUI but refused to take a breathalyzer test. And in 2012, Republicans lawmakers initiated a movement to censure Ward for a language switch on an amendment that caused considerable confusion. Said Republican Rep. Brenda Landwehr at the time, “This is the first time that I’ve observed a legislator out and out lying. Your word is gold up here. It’s supposed to be the one thing we can all bank on.”
The McClatchy writers paint a fairly pugnacious portrait of the former Sedgwick County assistant district attorney. The reader learns that Ward is a “bulldog debater,” a “progressive firebrand,” a “street fighter” who “doesn’t mind going on the attack.”
Ward reinforces the imagery in his own language. “I’m going to aggressively talk about what I believe the future of Kansas would be under a Ward administration moving forward. And I will punch back,” Ward told his supporters. Having said that, he adds paradoxically that Kansans are “really tired of politics always being about personal destruction and attack and they really want people to talk about how you can solve problems that help their lives.”
“The challenge the Democrats have is they live in a state where most voters prefer the other brand,” said Ward, now back to his bulldog posture, “and if most people prefer the other brand the way that you get them to switch brands is being aggressive. Vanilla doesn’t really convey that message well.”
Expect vanilla fudged.