Outspoken Kan. Legislator Announces Resignation

Kansas state Senator Kay O’Connor, an outspoken Republican conservative who once said women’s suffrage was a sign that society didn’t value families enough, is leaving the Kansas Legislature.

O’Connor announced this week that she will resign her Senate seat, probably by the end of October. She acknowledged that her unsuccessful campaign this year for the GOP nomination for secretary of state was a key factor in her decision.

In a letter to supporters, she wrote, “My friends, I am tired.”

She received only 27 percent of the vote in her attempt to oust incumbent Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh. The state ethics commission fined her $3,000 in August 2005 and $5,000 more in June, both times for illegally soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists.

O’Connor said some of her fellow conservative Republicans abandoned her when she ran for secretary of state. She was frustrated that Kansans for Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, endorsed both her and Thornburgh in the primary, though Thornburgh enjoys support from many GOP moderates.

“When my friends started shooting at me, I decided I don’t think I want to mess with this anymore,” O’Connor said in an interview. “I could deal with it. I choose not to.”