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More 2012: Conservative takeover

KANSAS: “Backed by a waterfall of dollars from political action committees and other outside groups, conservative Republican senate candidates won all but a few key races over Republicans who were labeled more moderate during bruising campaigns,” the Wichita Eagle writes. “The victories will likely pave the way for Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda for at least the next two years, although general election challenges by Democrats could change that.”

More: “Statewide, nine incumbent Republican senators, including Senate President Steve Morris, were poised to lose their positions as an onslaught of conservative challengers with strong backing from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other political groups won over the relative modest percent of voters who turned out to vote.”

What’s behind what happened: “Republicans have long dominated state politics, but in 2010, limited government candidates aligned more with tea party ideals than traditional Republican thinking, took over most of state government, led by Gov. Sam Brownback. Brownback made cutting taxes, shrinking government and privatizing services for the poor and disabled the cornerstone of his agenda. He has consistent support from the House, where Republicans hold a powerful 92-33 majority. But his plans have met resistance in the Senate, where Democrats and moderate Republicans formed a majority to block some of the most aggressive parts of Brownback’s agenda.”

And: “Koch Industries gave $125,000 to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce PAC, which announced support for Brownback-aligned conservative candidates late last year and gave hundreds of thousands to conservative candidates who sought to defeat incumbent Republican senators. Koch gave another $20,000 to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC, fueling similar ads aimed at knocking out incumbent Republicans the Chamber once supported. Wichita oilman and Brownback supporter David Murfin gave $80,000 to the state chamber to help pay for ads attacking incumbent Republican senators.”

MISSOURI: “St. Louis area U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a staunch conservative who refused to attack his opponents, on Tuesday won Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination,” the Kansas City Star writes. “He’ll face Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in November in a race that will offer Missourians a sharp contrast between a six-term congressman who has said he’s committed to sharply cutting the federal budget and a Democrat determined to maintain a basic safety net for most Americans.”

And this happened… “Missouri voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment that supporters said will protect religious freedom,” the Kansas City Star reports. “The measure — Amendment 2 — says Missourians’ right to express religious beliefs can’t be infringed. It protects voluntary prayer in schools and requires public schools to display a copy of the Bill of Rights. With all but two precincts statewide counted, 779,628 voted yes on the measure and 162,404 voted no, roughly a 5-1 margin. Many supporters referred to the measure as the ‘Right to Pray’ amendment.”