Local region should brace for more negative fallout.
The recent primary election in Kansas was ugly long before voters headed to the polls.
In the run-up to the election, a far-right faction of the Republican Party led by the Kansas Chamber, Americans for Prosperity, wealthy Koch brothers and Gov. Sam Brownback unleashed a flurry of negative ads intended to take down anyone who would dare challenge their agenda, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, included.
Sadly, many voters fell for such outlandish claims as the absurd notion that moderate state senators somehow supported so-called "Obamacare."
Now, with Senate moderates pushed aside and both legislative chambers controlled by ultraconservative Republicans, we're left to brace for renewed attacks on education, social services and other programs.
Education will be a big target. Expect Brownback to pursue reduced state funding while allowing local school districts to shoulder more of the cost.
That would be a great deal for affluent eastern Kansas districts. They've long favored lifting the existing cap on local option budgets, and being able to generate more property tax dollars to improve their schools.
The problem is those districts then would have no cause to support any policies in place to address inequities between wealthy and smaller, poorer districts.
Less affluent districts — including those in southwest Kansas — would be left to either raise property taxes or close schools and put educators out of work.
Such grim possibilities are proof that this region needs strong representation in Topeka.
But Larry Powell, the Republican state representative now headed to the Senate to replace Morris, is hardly a friend of education. During a local legislative coffee, he even dismissed the link between education and economic development.
Powell should consider his district's unique needs and challenges, and defend southwest Kansas interests on every issue — education included.
That's unlikely, however. Powell was a beneficiary of the attack-ad campaign because he could be counted on to endorse every Brownback pitch, regardless of the impact on this part of Kansas.
Of course, Powell won't be alone in rubber-stamping the governor's radical right-wing agenda. And with too few legislators left to provide much resistance, southwest Kansans should be very worried.