Chris Steineger didn't have a lot of friends left in the Kansas Democratic Party. So he's switching teams.
Steineger, a Wyandotte County state senator, is defecting to the Republican Party. Steineger announced the switch in a news release, KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported.
"By joining the Republican majority in the State Capitol, I am better able to deliver value and service to the people of Wyandotte County."
Apparently, 13 years wasn't long enough to deliver value and service.
Steineger has been at odds with the Democratic Party for years. In this past year's Democratic primary for Secretary of State, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley asked Steineger to drop out of the race. He didn't.
"Much like Kris Kobach, Steineger has his own ethical and legal problems," Hensley wrote in the letter. "He has violated campaign finance laws which forced him to pay a $5,000 fine to the Kansas Ethics Commission. Democrats will lose the office if Chris Steineger is our candidate."
In late August 2009, we reported that Steineger got into a bar fight at Breit's Stein and Deli in Kansas City, Kansas,
while arguing with another man about health-care reform. Steineger's spokeswoman confirmed that there was
an argument and a punch was thrown, but denied that Steneiger had a
black eye. But he did. Multiple sources at the Kansas Capitol confirmed it. Steineger later claimed that he got "sucker punched."
Not so, according to an attorney Thomas F. McGraw, who gave
this account: Steineger was drinking at Breit's with his wife when he got into an
argument with Richard Carney (who McGraw represented) escalated.
Steineger grabbed Carney's tie and took a swing at
him; Carney blocked it and popped Steineger in the eye. McGraw said
Carney acted in self-defense and Steineger was the "primary aggressor."
Steineger isn't the only lawmaker in Wyandotte County to leave the Democratic Party. Ex-Sen. Mark Gilstrap exited after then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and others backed his primary opponent, Kelly Kultala, who ended up winning the primary and later, Gilstrap's old seat.
Read Steineger's full statement here.