In Kansas, a Troubling Fissure for GOP
By Nicholas Riccardi
Times Staff Writer
June 13, 2006
TOPEKA, Kan. â Mark Parkinson got his start in Republican politics at age 19, as a precinct committeeman. He served six years as a Republican state legislator, eventually becoming state Republican chairman.
But two weeks ago, Parkinson announced he was running for lieutenant governor â as a Democrat. He said he no longer felt welcome in the increasingly conservative Kansas Republican Party.
Parkinson became the third Republican politician in the last nine months to startle this red state by switching to the minority party. The other two are targeting GOP incumbents in the attorney general’s office and in the state House of Representatives.
Political observers say the fracture within the Kansas GOP may foreshadow the future for the national party.
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