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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Congressman John Campbell Analyzes The Political Races In Kansas

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HH: John Campbell is my guest. He is the Congressman extraordinaire from Southern California. He’s in the hot, hot, hot studio where the air conditioning’s been broken for 96 hours, and it’s a ridiculous 110 degrees in here.

DP: If only the Angels were this hot.

HH: If only the Angels were this hot. If only the Tigers were this hot. The Browns are this hot. But I invited him in today, despite the fact that Duane begged me not to. Duane begged me not to have John Campbell in here, because he’s a Royals fan. And he left his little cell phone here. I’m showing the members of the Hughniverse that Congressman Campbell left this little thing for me. He’s actually been a Royals fan all season long.

JC: And I’ve got another one here. You can see it’s on my actual phone.

HH: You’re not a late jump on the band wagon…

DP: You thought I was going to commit congressicide.

HH: I did. I was afraid if you came in here today, John, that we might have a Congessicide, that is an attempt upon a Congressman by my producer. But you braved getting past Duane’s door to come in here.

JC: Well, because he didn’t tell me anything about this. He just said I was, can you stop in, and I said yeah. And I didn’t even ask what. I was trusting. That was a mistake, huh?

HH: Well, you might get clubbed on the way out.

JC: Yeah.

HH: But I said I needed two segments out of you. Here’s why. NBC News/Marist Poll yesterday put Pat Roberts ten points behind Greg Orman in Kansas, and Sam Brownback tied.

JC: Yeah.

HH: Now I could call someone in Kansas, but you actually know much more about Kansas politics than anybody else I know.

JC: Now wait a minute, you know Mike Pompeo.

HH: I do, but Mike is out campaigning in his own district.

JC: Yeah, I know. Okay.

HH: And I need the real skinny. You’re not on the ballot. What is going on there?

JC: All right.

HH: And can Roberts pull this thing out?

JC: Can Roberts pull it out? Yes. Is he going to pull it out? I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think so. And the problem with Pat Roberts, and just to be brutally honest and frank, first of all, he shouldn’t have run again. You know, he’s been around a long, long time, been in Congress since, what, like ’82 or ’78 or…

HH: ’80, I think, actually.

JC: …’80, something like that, and he’s been in the Senate a long time. And you know, he’s like Thad Cochran in Mississippi. A lot of people in Kansas kind of felt it was time for him to move on. But the real problem was this, is that he doesn’t have a home of any sort in the state of Kansas. And this came out, one of the reasons people are upset with him is they say well, he’s gone Beltway. He doesn’t live here anymore. Well, they’ve come to find out he not only doesn’t own any place in Kansas, he doesn’t rent any place in Kansas. And when he stays in Kansas, he said that he crashed in some friend’s guest room. And I tell you, anybody listening from the NRSC ought to be listening to this. If you don’t have a place to live in your home state, it should be we’ll primary you, and you’re done. Pat Roberts is from Dodge City, Kansas. This is not an expensive place. You can get a one bedroom apartment in Dodge City, Kansas, decent, not even bad, for $300 a month. That’s all it would have taken for him probably to have avoided this thing. The reason I think he’s in trouble is I don’t know if you remember a nationally famous guy who was a member of Congress, Jim Ryan.

HH: Yeah.

JC: He was the first high schooler to run a four minute mile.

HH: Fell down at the Olympics.

JC: Fell down at the Olympics. Right, went to the Olympics, but the first who ran…I had his picture up on my bulletin board as a kid. If you were a young boy in the 60s growing up, Jim Ryan was a national hero, clearly a Kansas hero. He was a member of Congress from Kansas. He lost, and they put a Democrat in that district, because they perceived that he had gone Beltway. He was no longer living in Kansas. He was living in Washington. He didn’t come home very much. He didn’t talk to people very much. And they kicked him out. And he was a national hero and a Kansas hero, I mean, probably one of the greatest living kind of, he and…

HH: Jayhawkers, Bob Dole…

JC: Bob Dole and people like that. But otherwise, he’s right up there. And they threw him out, because they determined that he no longer was a part of Kansas. He was now a part of Washington. Pat Roberts doesn’t have the hero thing going for him.

HH: He was a Marine.

JC: And so…yeah, but…

HH: In 1948.

JC: But there are a lot of former Marines in Kansas. There are a lot of military people in Kansas, etc., etc. And so I think it’s a real problem.

HH: I sent an email today to a mutual friend of ours who lives in Wichita…

JC: Yeah.

HH: …begging him and his wife to please vote for Pat Roberts because the Supreme Court was on the line.

JC: Right.

HH: And he wrote me back and said I hadn’t thought about that, maybe I will. Can they nationalize this race?

JC: They’re going to have to, because I just don’t think, and you know the NRSC has taken over the thing, the campaign and so forth. And what’s most fascinating is you know who’s chairman of the NRSC?

HH: Yeah.

JC: …is Jerry Moran, the other Senator from Kansas. It would have to be the most embarrassing thing on the planet that you lose a seat in your own home state that Romney won by 22 points. And of course, this Greg Orman is running as an independent, not as a Democrat. So in a sense, that hurts him, because the Democrats have to be careful not to put any money in. If they put too much money in from the Democratic Party, then the Roberts campaign, now that would be a killer, because then the Roberts campaign would say a-ha, see, he’s not really an independent, he’s a Democrat, don’t vote for him. But at the moment, they’ve avoided that. That means Orman doesn’t have a whole lot of money to fight back with. But on the other hand, he’s running around saying I’ll caucus with whoever is in the majority. I’m not for Harry Reid, I’m not for Mitch McConnell, I’m for Kansas. And he’s saying these various things that are frankly resonating with the populace there at the moment. But so I think to win it, it has to be nationalized. And he has to be seen, this Orman, has to be seen as a Democrat.

HH: But that doesn’t answer the question.

JC: …in independent’s clothing, which by the way, I think he is. He’s given a lot, he’s a wealthy man…

HH: Yeah.

JC: He’s given a lot of money so he can spend his own money, and he’s given a lot of money to the Democrats over the years.

HH: He ran, he voted for Obama in ’08. He says he voted for Romney in ’12.

JC: He gave money to Obama.

HH: Gave money. But he also, no one’s answered the question, yet. If it’s 49 Democrats and 50 Republicans…

JC: Right, and he has not answered that question, and he won’t answer that question. And at one point, Harry Reid said, I mean, I’ve been following this very closely from the beginning.

HH: You have, yeah.

JC: At one point when Orman, when the Democrat first dropped out, Taylor, and then Orman became the only opponent to Pat Roberts, Harry Reid was asked what do you think about this guy, and he said I think he’s okay, which is a really bad sign. I mean, that almost should be the think that Pat Roberts is running against him, is that Harry Reid thinks he’s okay.

HH: Do you get word of what the television buys are like? And can the needle be moved in Kansas, because there is 30 days. I don’t even know if early voting’s allowed in Kansas.

JC: It is. Early voting is allowed in Kansas. But it’s only like two weeks out. Absentee ballots go out, I think, two weeks before the election, or something like that. So there is early voting, but it’s not as long as in some states. They’ve got their early voting and absentee stuff.

HH: They’ve got Orman tied to Gupta. Is that the guy’s name, not Gupta…

JC: Yeah, oh, the…

HH: The Goldman-Sachs guy?

JC: Right, right, right…

HH: Who’s in jail, I think.

JC: Right, so they’re trying to make those ties and everything to bring them down. And the one thing is you know, it’s a cheap state to advertise in. I mean, if you have a ton of money, you almost can’t spend it. I mean, it’s Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City. And of course, half of Kansas City is Missouri, and they can’t vote for you. So it’s, that’s it. Those are basically the three media markets. And so there’s only so much money you can spend on TV in Kansas. It’s just not that expensive.

HH: Now even though you’re the Congressman from California, can we persuade you to reregister in Kansas on your farm so that you could vote for Pat Roberts?

JC: I don’t think I ought to do that while I’m a Congressman from California. Probably not a good idea.

HH: I think you should.

JC: No.

HH: Every vote counts. I want everyone in this audience…

JC: But…

HH: When we come back, we’re going to talk about Sam Brownback.

JC: Yeah, okay.

HH: But I want everyone in this audience to please talk to everybody they know in Kansas…

JC: Yeah.

HH: And let them know that this race is control of the Senate. It’s the future of the Supreme Court.

JC: Right, and that’s what they’ve got to do. Yeah, we know you don’t love Pat Roberts. Yeah, he wasn’t, but you know, he does vote the right way, and there’s no question about that. He votes the right way. And this two years, man, we’ve got to have people who vote the right way. I almost wonder if he said I’ll serve two years and then step down and let Mike Pompeo or somebody run for this seat, but something…

HH: Something.

JC: They’ve got to do something.

—- – – – –

HH: Five minutes, Sam Brownback…

JC: Yeah, okay.

HH: You know, our friend said no, he screwed all the poor people.

JC: Right, yeah, okay, I was just talking to Duane in between segments here. Here’s my analysis of, we talked about Pat Roberts in the last segment. And Sam Brownback is not as bad in the polls. He was. He was down seven, eight. He’s now pulled even in part because they’re defining his opponent, who is a true Democrat, no independent like Roberts’ opponent, and he’s a liberal Democrat. If you look at his voting record, there is no way to argue that this guy is a moderate Democrat in any sense of the word. So that’s starting to get in, so Brownback’s now even. But here’s my analysis when you put all this together. There are actually three statewide races in Kansas, again, a state that Romney won by 22 points, where the Republicans are in trouble. Pat Roberts, the governor, Sam Brownback, but also the secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who’s made a lot of news on trying to help Roberts on stuff, an also on immigration.

HH: Immigration.

JC: He’s made a lot of news, and he made a lot of news on Obamacare. And so the Democrats are going after him big time. I don’t see Kansans voting down the ticket against Roberts, against Brownback, against Kobach. But what I think they’re going to do is I think they’re going to vote against one of those. A lot of Republicans and a lot of independents are going to say you know what? I’m really upset with what Sam Brownback did, like your friend you were talking about, but I’ll suck it up and vote for Roberts and vote for Kobach, but I’m voting no on Brownback, or the other way around. You know, I am, I just can’t handle that Pat Roberts isn’t here, but I’m voting against him, but I’ll go ahead, suck it up and vote for Brownback, because I don’t want the whole state going Democratic, and Obamacare and all that. So that’s actually, I think, the decision that’s going on in a lot of Kansans’ minds right now. And I don’t know where that’s going to turn out. I think…

HH: Now would it matter if they had electricity in the state?

JC: Oh, my gosh. This is…and you call me in here to have a serious discussion about…oh, my gosh.

HH: The Pony Express pick up deliveries.

JC: Brownback has done great things in Kansas and for Kansas. Paul Ryan and I were talking about it. You know, Paul Ryan cut his teeth in politics working for Sam Brownback’s first Congressional campaign.

HH: I didn’t know that.

JC: Oh, he said that was his first job. He worked for Sam Brownback, and he was on Brownback’s staff then after he won. He worked on his campaign. So he knows Brownback, and he knows Kansas well. And he thinks Brownback is one of the, if not the best governor in America…

HH: He’s also one of the best men in politics. He’s a genuinely wonderful man.

JC: He’s a wonderful, genuine guy. But he hasn’t communicated what he’s done particularly well, and that’s the problem. And so it’s created, and so when people say he’s cut education, he hasn’t cut education a dime. They’re spending more than they ever have.

HH: But he didn’t expand Medicaid, right?

JC: He did not.

HH: Right, he didn’t take, he did not…

JC: Because he didn’t do the Obamacare thing.

HH: And a lot of people think that’s a bad choice. I don’t.

JC: It’s…no.

HH: It doesn’t work in Kansas. It works where you have revenues rising and nowhere else.

JC: Well, and here’s the thing that Kansans are, a lot of careful Kansans are looking at, and I’ve had a number of them say to me, yeah, okay, forget the headline in the paper about the money that cut or whatever. How is Kansas taking care of the poor and indigent in the state? And most Kansans will tell you we do a really good job of that, that we’re supposed to be this heartless, you know, conservative state that doesn’t do that, but we don’t. We do a really good job. Now you have to be truly indigent, but if you are, we take care of you in this state, and that’s a good thing.

HH: Now I’ve got to ask you, this is a beyond politics question. If the Royals were to win the World Series, how would that impact the elections? And if they were to lose the World Series, how would that impact the elections?

DP: Yeah, will that pacify them?

HH: Wildly, yeah, will they be so happy, will they have their one beer a year?

JC: Believe it or not, I have actually thought about this, and particularly at the governor’s race, maybe less so in the Senate race, but you know, people make decisions for lots of unusual reasons.

HH: You bet.

JC: And I often say people are not logical. We are all not logical entities.

HH: We’re emotional beings.

JC: And if that, it could help reinforce Brownback’s argument that I am bringing Kansas back. Look, we just won the World Series. Look, we have three teams in the…

HH: This is actually helping Kasich, by the way.

JC: …the basketball thing.

HH: LeBron returning to Ohio…

JC: Yeah.

HH: The Browns being better…

JC: There’s no question about it.

HH: The Indians are doing well…

JC: And I don’t think it helps Roberts that much, but I do think it would help Brownback.

HH: That means I’m going to have to root for Kansas City.

JC: This is an epiphany, America. Hugh Hewitt has had an epiphany.

HH: But how will they know? Do they have television, do they have radios in Kansas?

JC: Well, it’s not a complete epiphany, I guess.

HH: I’ll be right back, America. Thank you, John Campbell, for coming into the sauna studio on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

End of interview.

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