Delegating Denver #20 of 56: Kansas

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Total Number of Delegates: 41 Pledged: 33 Unpledged: 8

How to Recognize a Kansas Delegate: Claim jumpers from Leavenworth, Kansas, laid out their town on theSouth Platte River and named it after Governor James W. Denver, inthe hopes that he would make Denver City the county seat of ArapahoeCounty, Kansas. That was on November 22, 1858, and it was the last time that Colorado would ever do anything nice for Kansas. First,Colorado took all the territory from east of the Continental Divideto the 102nd Meridian, then stole a century's worth of water. In 1985, Kansas took Colorado to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking $300 million back pay for a hundred years of lost irrigation and water-skiingopportunities. Colorado appealed for the next twenty years and gotthe fine lowered to $35 million. It still hasn't been paid, and Kansans are bleeding mad. That is why Kansas delegates, who would normally look just like Nebraska delegates, will stick out like sorethumbs. Just look for women wearing acid-washed denim jumpers and men wearing pleated khaki pants who angrily badmouthDenver while stuffing their bags with restaurant sugar packets andhotel towels. It may be their only form of restitution.

Famous Kansans: Automobile pioneer Walter P. Chrysler; journalism pioneer Damon Runyon; literary pioneers William S. Burroughs and Langston Hughes; television pioneers Hugh (Ward Cleaver) Beaumont and Vivian (Ethel Mertz) Vance; entertainment pioneers Dennis Hopper and Cassandra (Elvira) Peterson; musical pioneers Charlie Parker, Joe Walsh and Melissa Etheridge; national embarrassments Kirstie Alley and Fred Phelps.

Famous Kansas Democrats: Fourth territorial governor and namesake of the city of Denver, James W. Denver; former congressman Bill Reardon; first female Treasurer of the United States, Georgia Neese Clark; 26th Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman and 44th governor of the state, Kathleen Sebelius.

Famous Kansans With Denver Connections: Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Hattie (Gone With the Wind) McDaniel; businessman Philip Anschutz; Monkey Businessman Gary Hart; governor Roy Romer; 48th Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton; 5th Congressional District representative Doug Lamborn; Park Hill brass trombonist Steve Traylor.

State Nickname: the Sunflower State (official); the Land of Oz, Bleeding Kansas, the Squatter State, Midway U.S.A., the Grasshopper State (unofficial) Population: 2,764,075 Racial Distribution: 82% white, 6% black, 2% Asian, 1% Native American, 9% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $29,935 Unemployment: 5.4%


Most Kansan Denver Neighborhood: Southmoor Park

Most Kansan Bar: My Brother's Bar 2376 15th Street Drinking on the patio of Denver's oldest bar is a must for delegates from the state where liquor-by-the-drink is still only available in 47 of the 105 state counties.

Most Kansan Restaurant: Castle Cafe 403 Wilcox Street Castle Rock, Colorado Kansas City-style pan-fried chicken served in a cafe that's been serving home-away-from-home cooking since the 1890s.

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Best Day Trip: Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln and Mount Bross

Kansas Democrats are not the effete liberal elites of Republican fundraisers' fantasies. Each and every one of them is a political hardbody who possesses the strength of two Republicans — which is critical, because Kansas Republicans have them outnumbered by a margin of nearly two to one. However, Kansas Dems have been in training since the days of the concealed-carry veto and gay-marriage ban, and have gained strength by defeating creationism in public schools when Republican power was at its peak. They are now pumped up and ready to lead the state to physical fitness. Because of this, Kansas delegates have earned the right, and the privilege, to ascend to the summit of the 14,148-foot Mount Democrat. From Denver, take U.S. Highway 285 south to Fairplay. Turn north on Colorado Highway 9 and drive six miles to downtown Alma, then follow the sign to Kite Lake. The trail starts at the lake and climbs the northeast face of Mount Democrat with a series of well-worn switchbacks. The entire Mosquito Range is visible from the summit. The peaks in this group are all names of Civil War Republican heroes, with the rebellious Mount Democrat renamed at a later date, in an act of restitution. From Mount Democrat, a Kansas delegate can easily "bag" the nearby "Republican" peaks of Mount Lincoln (14,238 feet) and Mount Bross (14,172 feet).

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Sean Cronin