GOP congressional candidates tout Tea Party credentials

Wichta EagleApril 23, 2010 

Three of the four Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the 4th Congressional District touted their credentials as tea party candidates during a campaign forum Thursday.

Republican National Committeeman Mike Pompeo, businessman Wink Hartman and state Sen. Jean Schodorf all pledged some degree of allegiance to the movement that is built around demands for lower taxes and smaller government, along with opposition to national health care and the Obama administration.

All attended the tea party protest outside Wichita City Hall on the evening of April 15.

Schodorf, R-Wichita, brought the most tangible evidence — a $35 parking ticket she got while attending.

Schodorf revealed herself as one of at least 45 attendees ticketed for illegally parking at the Rounds & Porter building next to City Hall.

Schodorf drew a few laughs as she jokingly confessed to the largely law-enforcement-oriented audience at the forum, sponsored by the Wichita Crime Commission.

"In full disclosure, I went to the tea party last week and... well, I was kind of in a hurry and there was this empty parking lot and I thought, 'Ooh, good, that's close by,' " Schodorf said.

"... So anyway, I'm going to pay it."

Later the discussion became more serious over audience questions asking the candidates' views on the tea party and restoring civility in government.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it (the April 15 rally), and I believe in the tea party," Hartman said.

"It is very worthwhile and it is something I greatly appreciate because I think it is a great place for the frustrations and the direction this country needs to go."

On civil discourse, Hartman, who owns an oil company, an arena, the Wichita Wild football team and interests in several restaurants, said he had been in many business negotiations and never succeeded in accomplishing anything by name- calling or looking down on those who disagreed with him.

"Like it or not, I've had to grin a few times and kind of eat the dog, if you will," he said. "But you cannot continue being combative, rude, crude and difficult to get whoever on the other side of the table to agree with you and to follow your vision."

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