What if you could run for a statewide or federal office without having to worry about whether you’ll keep your underground Statehouse parking garage slot?
Now, there are probably good reasons for those four to try for bigger offices, but those four — so far — can campaign for another job at no risk to their current posts.
The four are, of course, state senators who are in the middle of four-year terms which means they won election in 2016 to terms which don’t expire until 2020.
How’s that for a belt and suspenders?
The four, so far, are State Sens. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth, and Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, who are running for Second District Congress to take the place of retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas.
Oh, and of course Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, who is running for governor, and Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, who is running for Secretary of State.
Win and they have new jobs; lose, they retain their Senate jobs for another two years.
Oh, but don’t forget that a handful of Kansas House members are running for higher office without that mid-term safety net, seeing that House members only have two-year terms. They win, or they have to return to buying their own lunches and drinks because lobbyists quickly lose interest in Kansans who can’t vote on bills they and their clients want passed.
Who is making the big bet — because re-election to the House is probably more likely than having to make friends with a much larger group of Kansans?
Well, start with House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, who is after the Democratic nomination for governor and who last year was re-elected to an eighth House term with 58.5 percent of his district’s votes — just 3,336 to land him his House seat.
Another risk-it-all candidate? Three-term Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, who is risking it all with his U.S. 2nd District House candidacy.
Oh, and down-ballot there are two candidates for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State who are betting it all. They are seven (non-consecutive) term House Speaker pro tem Scott Schwab, of Olathe, and three-term Rep. Keith Esau, a Republican also of Olathe, who are giving up the seats that each has recently won with high-50 percent margins, for the bigger job — or more time to spend on yardwork.
Practically, everyone would like to move up to higher office, where they can have a bigger effect on Kansans’ lives, whether it is making voting faster, managing the state, or in Congress drawing a little of that federal budget to Kansas, or maybe just preventing Congress from ignoring programs that are important to us.
Put aside for a moment every candidate’s promise to make life in Kansas better, or save the water table or provide better schools, roads, care for the poor and such, which each candidate has his/her own idea of just how to do that. You might just want to consider that some candidates are risking a lot more — likely their political futures—to accomplish that.
The non-legislators who are in the races? Well, we’ll presume they are making a living now and probably are serving their communities in some way.
And, even those job-safe senators who either get bigger jobs or keep their present jobs probably have a little-thought-about effect of pulling into the campaigns for the offices they are seeking some hard-won experience that will color those campaigns.
We’ve all heard campaign promises that we know just aren’t do-able and while they look nice on a palm card or at a public forum really aren’t going to happen. Sometimes it’s the experience that some candidates bring to the campaign that brings some practical realism to the elections.
Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report. Visit his website at www.hawvernews.com