Tresa McAlhaney (right) with her husband
Published: August 7, 2013
By JOHN MILBURN — Associated Press
TOPEKA, KAN. — A Bonner Springs woman has become the first Libertarian Party candidate to file for the 2014 Kansas governor’s race, a field the party’s chairman said Wednesday he hopes continues to grow.
Tresa McAlhaney of Bonner Springs, chairwoman of the Wyandotte County Libertarian Party, announced Wednesday that she has filed the necessary paperwork to establish her campaign. She and running mate Grant Nelson of Prairie Village are the first team to go public about seeking to oust Republican Gov. Sam Brownback next year.
McAlhaney, 33, said her early entry in the 2014 campaign season is designed to spark interest among voters who want to change the direction of state government.
“We want to start a revolution and clean out. It’s time for fresh people and ideas,” she said. “We felt like there are people out there looking for a political home.”
Al Terwelp, chairman of the Kansas Libertarian Party, said he hopes several other candidates step forward before the party’s April 2014 nominating convention. Five Libertarians sought the party’s nomination for gubernatorial candidate in 2010.
“We have a long list of people within the party and outside the party that the search team is looking at,” Terwelp said. “Obviously the Libertarian Party in Kansas has a challenge. She is setting the bar high and should have a positive effect on finding other candidates for governor and other races.”
Brownback is expected to seek re-election for a second term in 2014. He is yet to formally file for re-election.
Democrats have said they expect a candidate to step forward to challenge Brownback. Among possible candidates mentioned is House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence attorney.
Libertarians are hoping to achieve 5 percent of the total vote in the governor’s race, a threshold that would elevate the party’s status equal to Republicans and Democrats in the election process and trigger primary elections to select candidates. Currently, minor parties can only get on the ballot by holding nominating conventions and filing candidates with the secretary of state.
Terwelp said the party gained 1,000 new registrations in the past year, topping 11,700 as of July.
“We’re becoming better organized and have better communication with our members,” he said. “The other part of it is I think voters across the state aren’t pleased with the situation.”
He said the party is trying to reach out to Republicans, Democrats and independent voters who “want to vote for something they want” and not just cast a protest vote in elections.
McAlhaney said Libertarians should be able to reach the 5 percent mark in the 2014 governor’s race “if we do our job right. We are completely serious. We are in it to win.”
History is not on their side, however, said Joe Aistrup, a Kansas State University political scientist. He said third parties have struggled to get 2 to 3 percent of the vote in elections despite voter dissatisfaction.
Aistrup said Libertarians may be able to appeal to moderate Republicans who feel no connection with the current Kansas GOP, which conservatives firmly control. While Libertarians may not cost Brownback re-election, a close 2014 race could indicate broader problems.
“It would be like high blood pressure. It’s a sign that other arteries are in trouble,” Aistrup said.
Article source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/07/3089657/libertarian-files-for-kan-governors.html#storylink=cpy
McAlhaney’s campaign website below: