I Respectfully Disagree…


Leavenworth County Courthouse

There has been concern, expressed on Facebook and elsewhere, that I have waited until after re-districting to file for the Kansas Senate, 5th District. This has been portrayed as self-serving and a disregard for the good of the Party. I respectfully disagree and ask you to consider that I filed on time, after redistricting, as did a large number of candidates. Also, primaries are an American tradition that can serve the people and the parties well as they help to get the issues out and result in stronger, not weaker, candidates. The issues facing Kansas and the country today are extremely serious and they deserve careful consideration and thoughtful action based on consistent principles which we share. I would prefer to address those issues rather than who got here first. This is my attempt to put the matter to rest as we enter the campaign.

Here is the rest of the story:

1.       Why wait? I have been the Republican candidate for this seat since I filed in June of 2004 and my financial filing has been consistently on the Secretary of State’s website since then. This is not the same as filing or announcing; but, I did announce at the State Party Convention in February, followed by a local announcement the next week and both were immediately posted on Facebook and the local announcement on the front page of the local newspaper. I also made it clear to state and local party leadership in Nov. 2009 that I would not run for re-election in 2010 as the Kansas Republican Treasurer because I would be running for this office. I also discussed this with the Chamber of Commerce last August and with David Kensinger last October. In the meeting with Kensinger I noted that Mark was maneuvering to have my address drawn out of the district – spliting it out of Leavenworth City. At that time I told him that I would be working for a separate district for Leavenworth County, which would avoid the current situation.

2.       Why file only after redisricting? Because behind the scenes Mark was attempting to draw my address out of the district and I wanted to retain the flexibility to change my address should he succeed. I have correspondence from Mark Gilstrap to his friends in the Senate describing his prefered district and expressly asking that I be drawn out. This was given to me annonomously when Mark filed. Subsequently I was shown a map that in fact did draw my house and a surrounding block or two out of Leavenworth city. I told the senator that showed it to me that I if that map succeeded I would change my address. I had no intention letting such skulldugery succeed.

3.       Why not bring this up earlier? Because there seemed to be a good chance that Mark and I would be in separate districts. The Governor publically supported in writing a separate district for Leavenworth County and that would have put the matter to rest. I have always had excellent support in Leavenworth County, winning up to 60% of the vote – against Mark in the general election in 2004. I saw no reason to air all of this prematurely and hoped to let it die away as I knew it would be harmful to Mark and did not want to hurt his chances if we were to be in separate districts.

4.       Why run against Mark at all? I ran against Mark in 2004 for a number of reasons. Those reasons are still there. While I appreciate his pro-life and pro-gun votes, he has not been good for Leavenworth County, not been good for business overall, not been good on containing government spending, and not been good on illegal immigration. During the campaign I will address these and other issues.

5.       Isn’t this late filing a disregard for the good of the Party? Well, no. As I have mentioned I filed on time. And in this district Mark will lose against Kelly Kultala and that is not good for the Party, and worse, not good for Kansas. Even if he could win, Mark’s record in the senate is not good – ending in 2008 with the lowest rating by the NFIB among all Kansas senators. I ran against him in 2004 for good reasons – those reasons are still there. History was not rewritten when he got tossed from the Democrat Party –rather than voluntarily converting like many others. Again, I will make the case during the campaign by reviewing, among other things, his votes on business, spending, and illegal aliens.

I understand the desire to see a former Democrat succeed as a Republican and I applaud the help that has been so generously given to conservative candidates in the past. However, the situation is very serious and it is the issues that count. We must win this election and help get Kansas back on track to prosperity. In all humility I believe that I have taken the proper course to preserve the best chances for all involved and the best course for Kansas. I hope that this explaination is helpful and I welcome the opportunity to provide further clarification if desired. Once again, it is not my intention to disrupt or harm the Party in any way – quite the opposite. I have put many years into building up the Party and helping to lead it to a more Conservative understanding of government. That includes winning the county party for conservatives, working as county chair for Kline, Brownback, Carter, and Shallenbarger and at the precinct, district, state level which was recognized by my election as State Republican Treasurer in a very difficult time of rebuilding through a Federal Election Commission audit. Finally, I helped found and still help run The Leadership Series (the male counterpart of the women’s Eisenhower Series) which in the last two years has trained over eighty men for leadership. Our Party is being used for selfish political gain, only, not by me.

  1. Tom Stoffers said:

    Fitz speaks truthfully I was there when he announced he would be running for a senate seat at the Kansas State Party convention. Steve is the real conservative in this primary and can beat Kelly Kultala in a general election.

    Fitzgerald is a leader and has the credentials to prove it. Steve is the right choice for Kansas he will lead in a time that this state must have leadership. In 2012 it is critical to choose the candidate who has worked in our party and will affirm Kansas values .That man is Steve Fitzgerald.

  2. Greg Beck said:

    I know Steve Fitzgerald very well, consider him to be a friend and have the greatest respect for him as a straight shooter. I know Mark Gilstrap as well but obviously don’t know him as well as I thought. A lot more political maneuvering going on here that I had no idea was occurring. I will be an even bigger Fitzgerald political supporter than I was before.

  3. John Nelson said:

    Steve is a true American who deeply cares about this country and Kansas. He speaks truthfully and straight from the heart. We will be honored to have him serve as our Senator representing Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties.

  4. Dan Hopkins said:

    Steve is a great Kansan. What makes a great Kansan? Someone who is unchanging in their service to make this state a better place, a Kansan who works to protect our freedoms. Steve has been unwavering in his convictions and has held them his entire adult life. His opponent has proclaimed to have seen the light, interesting that he only saw it after being booted from his lifelong affiliation with the democratic party, that person would be Mark Gilstrap. We are supposed to just accept his word when his record in the senate is very liberal except for life and gun issues. Mark is a nice guy, Steve is a great Kansan!

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