Liberal County Commissioner Supports Conservative Challenger to Roberts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:00am

Milton Wolf, a diagnostic radiologist, is running as the conservative alternative to Sen. Pat Roberts in the Republican primary in Kansas. But Wolf was just endorsed by Liberal county commissioner Jim Rice.  

OK, seriously: Rice is chairman of the Seward County Commission from Liberal, Kansas (population 21,000). But you can’t make this stuff up.  

Wolf was in Washington last week making the rounds. He stopped by the Rothenberg Political Report headquarters and sat down with Roll Call for an on-camera interview .  

Roberts will have the vast majority of the establishment support, but Wolf will likely need to peel away a little more local support than a county commissioner from rural southwest Kansas to win the nomination. Wolf has been endorsed by Senate Conservatives Fund and Madison Project (led by former Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun). So far, the Club for Growth has remained on the sidelines . But Roberts’ 73 percent lifetime rating makes him a potential target later this year, depending on how earlier primary contests play out . The Kansas primary is Aug. 5.  

This isn’t the first time Liberal, Kansas, has made its mark on Jayhawk politics.  

In 1998, freshman Rep. Jerry Moran was running for re-election in the 1st District against a Democratic lawyer with an office in Liberal. An initial Associated Press headline read, “Liberal Lawyer to challenge Moran,” according to one local GOP source. But Democrats complained and asked media outlets to refer to his city of residence , Moscow (in neighboring Stevens County), instead.  

On a side, side note, things apparently went from bad to worse for Phillips after losing to Moran. [Links here and here .]