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Flyer contains incorrect information, labels Dierks a 'lifelong Democrat'

7/24/2014

SALINA (MCT) — A newspaper-size flier that's been left on doors around Salina over the past few days calls out six Republican state representatives -- including Rep. Diana Dierks of Salina -- as "liberals" and urges primary voters to take a look at their voting records.

The flier also claims Dierks is a "lifelong Democrat" who ran as a Democrat in the 2008 governor's race, even though there wasn't a gubernatorial election that year.

Dierks is facing a primary challenge from Tom Bell, of Salina.

Bell said he had no knowledge of the fliers until after they had been distributed.

Dierks has told the Salina Journal in the past and said again Wednesday that she ran for lieutenant governor as a Democrat in 1994 but that she did so to help a friend.

"My employer wanted to run and asked me to run with him," Dierks said. "We didn't make it through the primaries."

In the five-way race for the Democratic nomination, Dierks and her running mate, Leslie Kitchenmaster, received just more than 11,000 votes statewide.

Soon after, Dierks said, she switched her party affiliation back to Republican.

'Republican at heart'

"I've been a Republican at heart since I was 5," she said.

She said that her grandparents' home in Los Angeles was an election polling place. She made a bunch of "I Like Ike" signs and taped them to the walls, and her grandmother had to take them all down to open the house for voting.

Wrong date a 'typo'

The flier was produced by a Wichita-based group called Kansans for Liberty, which also compiled the voting records of state lawmakers on issues of concern to the group, including abortion, gun regulations and education.

Craig Gabel, president of Kansans for Liberty, said the incorrect date for the gubernatorial election involving Dierks was a typo but that the other information is accurate.

"Our goal is to educate the voters," Gabel said. "It's up to them to do something about it. She votes 100 percent Democrat and has an 'R' behind her name. If she wants to be an 'R,' she should follow the planks of the Republican platform. If you don't, you need to get into the party where you belong."

Dirks 10-of-25

Of the 25 bills Kansans for Liberty most wanted passed, Dierks voted in favor of 10.

"I'm not walking in lockstep with what they want," Dierks said in reaction to the fliers.

She said Gabel once came to her office in Topeka during the legislative session, and "he told me emphatically that if you vote exactly the way we want you to vote, we'll have 40 people in Salina handing out cards (of support). I told him my vote is not for sale and then that I had to get out on the floor and represent the people I represented."

Others featured in the flier are Reps. Russ Jennings of Lakin, Blaine Finch of Ottawa, Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park, Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, and Tom Sloan of Lawrence.

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(c)2014 The Salina Journal (Salina, Kan.)