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Kansas Congressional Candidate Banks on 'Barbarism' as Dem Threatens to Flip Seat

Steve Fitzgerald speaks during debate in Topeka, Kan.

One of the Kansas GOP’s best chances of saving the state’s 2nd congressional district seat from being flipped to Democrat Paul Davis is a Republican who said, “Outside of Western civilization, there is only barbarism.”

Mike Stieben, co-chairman of Kansans For Life’s political action committee, told an audience at a Kansas GOP convention prayer breakfast in February that if they aren’t worried about Democrats winning the House seat now held by retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), they should be.

“If the election were held today, (there’s) a 70 percent chance Davis gets elected,” Stieben said as an empty KFC bucket was passed around the room to collect donations. “He’s ahead. Wake up. We cannot elect Paul Davis.”

Davis is a former minority leader in the Kansas House who almost beat former Gov. Sam Brownback in 2014. Although he didn’t win the gubernatorial election four years ago, Davis carried the 2nd congressional district in 2014.

Davis’ name is more recognizable than any of the seven Republicans whose names are on the August Kansas GOP primary ballot. And if he doesn’t have more money than God, Davis certainly has more greenbacks in the bank than any of the Republican candidates he’ll face in November: more than $1 million.

Three top GOP contenders had to write personal loans of at least $150,000 to move their campaigns close to what’s needed for a competitive primary election.

Also, Davis isn’t going to have to spend much of his cash before August. No other Democrats are on the ballot. The Kansas Democratic Party has coalesced around Davis, hoping he will do in Kansas what Conor Lamb accomplished in Pennsylvania.

However, the 2nd congressional district has been a Republican stronghold for at least a decade. Maybe this is much ado about nothing, just GOPers worrying about the Blue Wave washing up on their shores in 2018.

Well, maybe not. Newest polling from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics showed the Kansas GOP’s 2nd congressional district paranoia was justified. The Center for Politics’ Larry Sabato moved the 2nd district from “likely Republican” to “tossup” in his Crystal Ball rankings in June.

“Republicans, generically, have the wind in their face,” Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, told Real Clear Politics. “If this were 2010 or 2014, we wouldn’t even be talking about the 2nd District.”

Kansas GOP Chairman Kelly Arnold admitted he’s worried about the 2nd district.

“(Davis) has name ID,” Arnold said. “We don’t know where we’re at with our candidate because we don’t know who it is yet.”

Maybe it will be Steve Fitzgerald, the state senator who told the world via CNN that except for those of us who live in western civilization, the world is filled with barbarians.