In it, but not of it. TPM DC

GOP Candidate Explains How She Gave America's Most Tea Party Guv. A Run For His Money

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AP Photo / Charlie Riedel

Winn lost to Brownback but not without making a dent. When the primary was over Winn had gotten 36.7 percent of the vote while Brownback got 63.3 percent. Brownback, a tea party favorite is expected to face a tough general election against Democratic state Rep. Paul Davis, has arisen as a surprisingly vulnerable incumbent governor, even in deep red Kansas.

On paper, you wouldn't think Brownback would even have a primary challenger. He's the mastermind behind a massive tax cut that's helped to sink the state's finances (on Wednesday Standard & Poor's downgraded Kansas's credit rating due to a serious dip in the state's revenues and tax cuts).

So how did Winn — whose policy proposals include raising revenue by bringing industrial hemp to the state — give a tea party governor in red-state Kansas a run for his money on primary night?


Jennifer Winn (AP Photo/John Hanna)

To Winn, Brownback's core problem and the reason she did as well as she did despite having a pittance of a campaign war chest, is because of the wasteful government spending and "good ol' boy" culture.

Winn told TPM that the reason she got as much support as she did was because people, even the beneficiaries of the tax cut, are "very concerned" about state revenues.

"Even some of ... the small business owners that are receiving the tax release, they're very concerned — well, where is that money going to be replenished at?" Winn said. "What are we going to do to replace the income we've lost. So, for me, there is no plan. Nobody seems to have the answer."

"Stop the wasteful spending, the buddy system of jobs that taxpayers are paying for," she continued.

Some recent polls have placed Brownback behind Davis and the race is in the tossup category on RealClearPolitics. But Winn argues she wasn't a protest vote against Brownback (some Republicans have actually thrown support behind Davis in protest to the incumbent governor).

"A lot of people will vote based on party. They don't really care," Winn said. "They just stand with the party."

"I came as someone who's tired of the corruption, I'm tired of the cronyism, I'm tired of the good ol' boy system," Winn said.

About The Author

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Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.