posted by Alan Greenblatt
Kansas really is fascinating. Sebelius won four years ago largely because the state GOP there is so fractured. She has been popular but has struggled to push much of an agenda against a Republican-dominated legislature.
Republicans dominate Kansas. After a decade of feuding within the party, conservatives appeared to have triumphed over the type of GOP moderates who had long run the state. But Phill Kline, the state attorney general, was the only true-blue conservative to win statewide (aside from U.S. Senator Sam Brownback). The other statewide officeholders were Republican, but moderate.
Sebelius has been able to convince former moderate Republicans that they have more of a future in the Democratic Party than in a GOP run by conservatives. Her running mate this year had been the state Republican Party chairman -- her second former Republican lieutenant governor.
She helped recruit Paul Morrison -- also a former Republican -- to run against Kline. And Carla Stovall, a former Republican state attorney general, endorsed Morrison.
It will be interesting to see what Sebelius can do in the coming years and what the dynamics of this AG race will mean, either in terms of building any sort of a Democratic infrastructure to last beyond her time in office, or in strengthening the moderate hand within the state GOP.