Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fluke: Mailers lying about Medicare views, trying to boost liberal-voting Republicans

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/28/2014

The Republican candidates for Kansas House District 59 have found an area where they agree: Political mailers sent by special interest groups are using deceptive or false information to attack them.

With state Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, questioning such mailers and calling for a fair election season last week at an Ottawa candidate forum, his opponent, Bob Fluke, pointed Monday to a third-party political mail piece sent to homes throughout the district that he said touts incorrect information about his campaign.

The Republican candidates for Kansas House District 59 have found an area where they agree: Political mailers sent by special interest groups are using deceptive or false information to attack them.

With state Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, questioning such mailers and calling for a fair election season last week at an Ottawa candidate forum, his opponent, Bob Fluke, pointed Monday to a third-party political mail piece sent to homes throughout the district that he said touts incorrect information about his campaign.

A mailer recently sent by a group called Kansas Traditional Republican Majority says Fluke, 64, Ottawa, is against Medicare in Kansas and hopes to derail the program, although it offered no information to support the claim, he said.

Finch has been the victim of such political mailers as well, including a mailer from the Kansas Chamber PAC that says the incumbent is “crushing the dreams of our kids,” listing Finch’s vote against House Bill 2506, an education funding law, as evidence. Finch said he voted against the bill because it created several provisions that helped other groups rather than actually funding public education.

Fluke, who serves as Franklin County Republican Central Committee chairman, also is on record as opposing the education funding bill.

“I just want a fair campaign,” Fluke said Monday, echoing Finch’s statements made at the candidate forum. “If you’re going to support a candidate, let us know who he really is.”

Fluke said he opposed the mailer because he has family members who are currently dependent on Medicare, and listed himself in the near future as someone who will need the government program. For the mailer to say Fluke wants to end the program is a bit of an insult, he said.

“Why in the world? They don’t even know anything about me,” Fluke said of the mailer. “How could they possibly do that?”

Finch, on the other hand, has supported the Medicare program, for example, as it related to House Bill 2553, which aimed to create the Health Care Compact to allow Kansas to separate itself from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Finch voted in favor of the bill, but said if the compact’s policies affected Medicare, he would not support it.

“If any of the compact’s policies at all threaten Medicare, I will not be supportive and will fight to preserve the promises we have made to our seniors,” Finch said in April.

When Fluke came in contact with the mailer, he said he tried to call the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority’s office, but no one would answer. He said other entities that have offered endorsements to candidates have been easy to contact.

“Americans For Prosperity gave an endorsement for me. They have a person you can call and you can talk to,” Fluke said. “[Kansas Traditional Republican Majority] has no one you can call about.”

Fluke said he thought the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority was a “front,” and only supports Republican legislative candidates who will vote in favor of liberal ideas rather than conservative.

When asked his stance on Medicare and recent legislation relating to the issue, Fluke said he knows he doesn’t have the record to prove his allegiances, while Finch’s voting record is open to the public.

“I know I don’t have a record to go on, but he does and that’s why I’m running,” Fluke said. “I don’t agree with the votes sometimes that he has had.”

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