Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Mr. Hall's Neighborhood

Jesse Hall, a Democrat running for the Kansas state school board against moderate Janet Waugh in District 1, denies that he's a fundamentalist stealth candidate.

Until recently, Hall hadn't attended a candidate forum. Hadn't issued a news release or put up a website for his campaign. He hadn't even returned reporter's phone calls inquiring about where he stood on the issues in the board race.

Then, Red State Rabble broke a story about a surreptitious e-mail fundraising appeal for Hall circulated by creationist Celtie Johnson.

Suddenly, Hall surfaced to tell the Bonner Springs Chieftain that he wasn't a fundamentalist, and he certainly wasn't a stealth candidate, either. He was just a candidate, like any other candidate.

He'd been quietly going about the business, he said, of door-to-door campaigning in his Kansas City, Kansas neighborhood to learn "what is currently lacking" on the Kansas Board of Education.

One of the things the good folks in Hall's neighborhood told him, he says, is that Janet Waugh, the current board member representing District 1, is fighting way too hard against intelligent design inspired changes to the state's science curriculum.

Funny thing, RSR has been studying campaign finance reports just released by the Kansas Ethics Commission and we've discovered that Hall's concept of door-to-door campaigning – like his definition of science – may be somewhat broader than your's and mine.

The District 1 seat Hall is running for includes Jefferson, Leavenworth, and parts of Douglas and Wyandot counties on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area, but according to his campaign finance disclosure report, only four of his 37 listed contributors live within the district.

Oddly, for a man running such a low-profile door-to-door campaign, sipping coffee with the neighbors, quietly calling on the good folks up the street, twice as many of his contributors – eight in all – are from out of state.

Three of Hall's contributions were handed across the kitchen table from Booker, Texas. A few more come in from Colorado and Minnesota. Three contributions are from Missouri.

Kansans are used to getting generous contributions from Missouri. The Creation Science Association of Mid-America, located in Missouri, wrote the science standards Steve Abrams presented to the board for adoption in 1999.

Some of the usual suspects – John Calvert, Celtie Johnson, Nancy and Lloyd Hanahan, Robert and Mary Jane Hogdon – somehow learned of Hall's sympathy for the intelligent design cause despite the dearth of public campaigning and resultant lack of news coverage about Hall's candidacy.

That's certainly lucky for Hall, because, despite his focus on meeting with the neighbors, nearly 90 percent of the contributions to his campaign come from outside his district.

Our old friend Josh Rosenau, the proprietor of the Thoughts from Kansas blog also has good coverage on the Kansas Ethics filings.


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