Kansas Republican switches parties to little effect

Before you let the headline carry you away, allow me to say up front that this isn’t a story about Senators Jerry Moran or Pat Roberts, nor does it refer to any of the four Republican members of Congress from Kansas. It’s not even about Governor Colyer. This tale involves a member of the state Senate, but it’s still worth a quick look.

As the Washington Times reported this week, Barbara Bollier, a senator from the suburbs of Kansas City, was comfortable enough running for election as a Republican, but has now performed a dramatic rendition of Take This Party and Shove It, switching sides and joining the Democrats. Her reasons for this decision make one wonder why she ran as a Republican at all.

A state senator in Kansas is switching parties to the Democrats, saying the Republican Party no longer represents her values on matters such as President Trump and transgenderism.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, who represents a suburban Kansas City district, made the switch official Wednesday, according to the Shawnee Mission Post.

“Morally, the party is not going where my compass resides,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being in a party that represents the ideals that I do, including Medicaid expansion and funding our K-12 schools.”

So she’s upset that her party isn’t supporting Medicaid for all. She also objected to a state government resolution stating that the human race is divided into two genders, male and female. She “can’t be associated with” the Trump presidency. Oh, and she also endorsed a Democrat for Governor in the last election. And yet you ran for office as a Republican… in Kansas.

In a rather humorous turn, the chair of the county Republican Party in her district stated that he was not surprised by her defection. He also wasn’t terribly sad to see her go, saying, “After her recent endorsements of Democrats in both the primary and general elections, as well as a voting record more liberal than many Democrats, we applaud her for her honesty.”

Here’s the problem. While the county GOP officials are already talking about an “exciting” election next time where they can elect an actual Republican, Ms. Bollier’s constituents are stuck for the next two years with a representative who essentially ran a fraudulent campaign. If they had wanted to be represented by a Democrat there was one on the ballot they could have chosen, but that candidate was broadly rejected.

It’s true that this switch isn’t going to change anything policy-wise at the state level. The GOP still holds 30-10 majority in the state’s upper chamber. But whether it’s through a recall or some other mechanism, shouldn’t the voters in this district have a chance for a do-over?