Pundits around the country will be keeping a keen eye on Kansas politics this election day . . .
Wait. No. It's the other thing, the one where nobody will be paying close attention. There will be no surprises. I'm calling the presidential race right now for Mitt Romney in Kansas, and the polling agrees. Though, the president does have a favorable rating of around 45 percent - pretty good for such a conservative stronghold. There is no democratic challenger for any of the house seats with a chance of winning, just look at the amount the candidates have raised for proof. Honestly, in congressional district 4, the Democratic challenger only raised a pitiful $30,000 - a number even eclipsed by some of the state house contenders.
Honestly, the only real question this election cycle in Kansas is whether the razor thin moderate coalition in the state Senate will hold or be replaced by extremely conservative first termers. If the hardliners win, we'll be watching for just how conservative things can get.
In the August primary, many sitting, moderately conservative Republicans were unseated by challengers as the party worked against its own legislators to replace them with more extreme lawmakers. These are the anticipated victors except for in the few traditionally liberal strongholds like Lawrence (home of KU), Kansas City and possibly Wichita.
I will be keeping an eye on how the new photo ID requirements affect turnout versus previous elections. These are only fully in effect in Kansas and Tennessee. This may help solidify the case in favor or against similar laws passed throughout the nation, so make sure to check back for updates and analysis of this important issue.
Here's what the anticipated conservative victory this election in Kansas will likely mean:
— Deeper tax cuts for everybody, including corporations
— Deeper cuts to education - particularly special programs for disabled, at-risk, gifted, ESL and arts related initiatives, despite earlier cuts being held as unconstitutional by Kansas courts. Higher ed. will also likely be facing cuts
— Further abortion restrictions - this year, the University of Kansas Medical Center received a prestigious National Cancer Institute Designation after great investment and planning. This year, the Kansas legislature almost cost KU this designation with its abortion restriction bill (requiring that no state institutions instruct on or perform medically accepted abortion procedures), and again embarrassed the state by, among others provisions, requiring a woman seeking an abortion be told how it increases her chances of developing breast cancer (despite the lack of scientific evidence to back the claim)
— Repeal of provisions allowing Kansas high school graduates to receive in-state tuition at universities even if they cannot prove citizenship
— The return of intelligent design to the classroom? I've heard the rumor that this could happen if the state school board composition changes (though it is just a rumor at this point).
— Sale of full strength beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores - actually, this is one thing a lot of our legislators seem to think is a good idea. Some of Kansas' most populated counties border Missouri, where it's cheaper and easier to buy booze. Plus, it would be nice to see some modernization of liquor laws here (Sunday sales were only legalized a few years ago)
— More cuts to social services, or just the continuation of chronically underfunding these services
This is obviously just the short list. I am pulling for some moderation in the state, but my hopes are not at all high. Stick around as I report on the numbers throughout the day tomorrow, but don't expect any surprises. If we do see any big developments, this will be the place to find them!
PolicyMic will be covering the election live from Kansas. Bookmark and refresh this page throughout the day for all the latest developments.