Monday, February 19, 2018

Gubernatorial Candidate says Saturday's GOP Debate was Rigged

Press Release

Topeka -- Jim Barnett, candidate for the Republican nomination for governor this evening said 
“The Kansas Republican Party is acting like Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Instead of a free and open debate, the Party has put their thumb on the scales to rig the debate for a certain few”.
Jim Barnett, Candidate for Governor

According to Barnett, the Republican Party implemented a policy excluding Republican nominees from participating in a debate unless they signed a debate agreement that limits what questions can be asked, who can ask the questions and restricts freedom of the press. The agreement also will not allow two Republican gubernatorial candidates to be in the same room and take questions from the citizens of Kansas.

He said the anti-free debate scheme was implemented when the Kansas City Star scheduled a December debate to be held in Kansas City. 
 “Leadership from the GOP quickly developed an agreement to block the Star from hosting the debate,” Barnett said.

The GOP agreement also excludes anyone from participating if they did not vote in the 2014 primary. 
 “I believe the Republican Party is the party of growth, opportunity and personal responsibility. The fact that we have young adults interested enough in our ideals to run for governor is a good thing. We should be a party of ideas,” Barnett said.

Our Party platform is clear. We believe in our constitution and freedom of the press. We promote free and vibrant political debate,” Barnett said. “But the criteria set out by the state party to control free speech and sanction political debate are self-defeating. They go 180 degrees in the wrong direction.”

The state party sanctions which groups can host an event and how media can participate.
 “To me, the more groups that want to host our debates, the better. The party should be in the process of enlarging the debate pie, not shrinking it,” Barnett said.

Our state came to its knees under the Brownback/Colyer administration,” Barnett said. “We need a new and better future for us and for our children. That is what this election is about. Our party can play a key role in that future by actually promoting fee and vibrant debate among its candidates for office.”

As much as I would like to be a part of the debate, I am unwilling to sign onto a process that actually works in opposition to the goals our party needs to achieve. We should be a party of principles. I strongly urge leaders of the state party to change these self-defeating debate criteria, so free and open debate can occur and the best candidate emerge,” Barnett said.

The Republican Party sanctioned debate was held Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita. Only four of the eleven Republican candiadtes were allowed or agreed the terms to participate in that debate. 
The list of candidates that have formed candidate committees include:
  1. former state Sen. Jim Barnett, a Topeka doctor, and the party's 2006 nominee for governor
  2. Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer
  3. Secretary of State Kris Kobach
  4. Wink Hartman, a Wichita oil company owner
  5. former state Rep. Mark Hutton, of Wichita
  6. former state Rep. Ed O'Malley, CEO of the nonprofit Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita;
  7. Patrick Kucera, a Leawood businessman and evangelist
  8. Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Villager, age 17
  9. Dominic Scavuzzo, of Leawood, age 17
  10. Joseph Tutera Jr., Mission Hills, age 16
  11.  Ethan Randleas, of Wichita, age 17 (although on January 31, he announced he was switching to the Liberterian Party)

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