Syracuse graduate eyes campaign against Huelskamp
By MARY CLARKIN
Special to The Telegram
Wichita State University political science major Bryan Robert Whitney is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2014 race for the 1st District, against U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler/Hutchinson.
Whitney, 27, is a graduate of Syracuse High School and listed his grandparents' residence in Kearny County — 1959 Road B, Kendall — on candidacy statement papers received Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission.
He has not filed yet with the Kansas Secretary of State, and would not be on the ballot until that occurs.
Wichita is in the 4th Congressional District, and Whitney does not plan to move back to the 1st District until 2015 — after the August primary and November general elections of 2014.
A provision in the U.S. Constitution allows Whitney to run for any Congressional seat in the state, as long as he lives in the state.
Whitney currently is a registered voter in Sedgwick County, not Kearny County. Until he files with the Secretary of State, it isn't known what address will go under Whitney's name on the ballot.
In 2012, Huelskamp breezed to re-election to a second two-year term without facing a Republican or Democrat.
Kansas Democratic Party spokesman Dakota Loomis said it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge that it's "probably going to make a pretty big difference" if a Congressional candidate doesn't live where he's running.
"You would prefer," Loomis said, a candidate who knows and lives in the district.
"It will be a challenge and it will be difficult," Whitney said.
The Huelskamp campaign is preparing for 2014. Huelskamp's campaign treasury contained $589,083 as of the end of March. Also, Huelskamp announced Thursday he had Sen. Pat Roberts' endorsement for re- election in 2014.
Whitney criticized Huelskamp for not being a bigger advocate for federal farm subsidies.
He also questioned Huelskamp's priorities and use of time.
Whitney said he didn't particularly care for the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act, but Huelskamp's attacks on "Obamacare" are "a colossal waste of time," Whitney said.
The Democratic White House and Senate would block health care act repeal efforts by the Republican House, Whitney pointed out.
"Typically, I would be moderate, right down the middle," said Whitney.
He said he comes from a Republican family and has been unaffiliated but is now a registered Democrat.
What mainly drove him to become a Democrat were two Kansas Republicans: Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Sam Brownback.
Whitney views Kobach's election policies as infringing on the rights of Hispanic and elderly voters. Whitney blasted Brownback's tax policies and said Brownback is not sufficiently funding education.
This month, Whitney will turn 28 and graduate from Wichita State. He will remain in Wichita because his wife, Selia Whitney, formerly of Johnson in southwest Kansas, is attending the University of Kansas Medical School in Wichita and won't be able to move until 2015.
Whitney has a daughter, Katherine, age 7.