Scott Canon

Scott Canon is digital editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. He started working for KCUR in January 2018.

Canon spent most of his career as a newspaper reporter, working in Illinois and California before landing in the newsroom of The Kansas City Star. At The Star, he covered mostly regional and national stories. As an editor at the newspaper, he oversaw political coverage. He also fielded a handful of overseas assignments to both very hot and very cold places.

High-stakes low-profile

Democrat and political newcomer Sharice Davids is leading in multiple polls and recent fundraising in her bid to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Not so much in public appearances.

KCUR’s Sam Zeff explores her apparent lay-low strategy to win in a district that covers the Kansas side of the Kansas City area.

Schooling you on the candidates

Fresh off a victory that cemented his latest, controversial pick on the nation’s high court, President Donald Trump came to Kansas on Saturday night hoping to transfer his popularity in the state to two fellow Republicans.

Trump arrived just hours after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — the most contentious appointment to the court in generations. Trump was in regular rally form, playing to an adoring crowd of some 10,000 thrilled supporters at the Topeka Expocentre.

The price of compliments

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t even running for re-election this year. And he’s from Kansas. Yet he’s become a talking point in one of the most pivotal contests in this mid-term election year.

It seems that Roberts once said the following: “If you want to pick somebody to work in a bipartisan manner and get something done … you ask Claire McCaskill because she does get the job done.”

McCaskill is a Democrat, running for re-election in Republican-dominated Missouri. So those words, from that guy, are campaign gold.

MKGA

On the eve of the Kansas Republican primary for governor, President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Little more than a week later, when Kobach could finally claim victory, he stood at the foot of the state Capitol and promised to do for Topeka what Trump’s done for Washington. Trump, he promised, was coming to campaign for him.

This week, that campaign promise looks pretty strong.

Who built it?

Steve Watkins emerged on the Kansas political scene this year as a relative unknown, but with a resume that political consultants could work with. West Point. Army Ranger. Combat patrols on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mountain climber. Degrees from MIT and Harvard. Started his own business and grew it to nearly 500 employees.

Sounds like …

Parents of dyslexic children have long pitched for a dramatic change to reading instruction and the extra teaching help needed to accommodate brains wired a little differently.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen weighs in this week with a story about how they’re on the verge of a breakthrough in Kansas that could bring more phonics-grounded reading instruction for all kids.

Big Brother lawsuit in Leavenworth goes class action

What a client, even one in jail, tells an attorney is private. 

Except that at the Leavenworth Detention Center a growing number of lawyers contend that private prison company CoreCivic and its phone and recording contractor, Securus Technologies, broke the law by intercepting those conversations.

Bacon hunting

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is making a pitch to bring more federal paychecks to Kansas. The state already scored a win in landing the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, for Manhattan (presuming you’re confident that the nasty germs studied and stored inside that bunker will stay inside that bunker).

Campaigning for business

The candidates for governor (let’s avoid “gubernatorial,” on principle) trotted to Wichita Tuesday night to sit for a Kansas Chamber forum and talk about issues relating to the business-happy outlook the group represents.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach promised to cut taxes to the levels of the early Brownback years and roll back regulations. Yes, he is, as he calls himself, a “full-throttled conservative.”

And a quarter-century later …

In 1991, Anita Hill’s testimony that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her nearly stopped him from taking a seat on the nation’s highest court.

Now a California professor has come forward contending that current U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school. Both are tentatively set to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee next week — perhaps interrupting Kavanaugh’s glide path to confirmation.

Troubled Medicaid contractor Maximus could soon have a new contract with Kansas officials that pays it more to do less.

State officials say that appears to be the price of getting the job of processing applications for the privatized Medicaid program, KanCare, done right.

The moment that figured to clarify the Kansas race for governor instead left it muddled.

Sure, state Sen. Laura Kelly ended up running away with the Democratic primary on Tuesday. And independent candidate Greg Orman had been waiting in the wings for months.

But the still oh-so-close Republican race between incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach tangled the race in the unknown. 

The Republican race for governor looks destined for a recount.

Out of more than 300,000 votes cast in the GOP race, unofficial final results showed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tallying 191 more votes than incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.

The winner will face state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, who locked down the Democractic nomination with a convincing win on Tuesday. They will likely be joined by independent candidate Greg Orman.

Tooling through parades in a flag-themed Jeep with a faux machine gun mounted on the back apparently wasn’t enough for Secretary of State Kris Kobach to win over the National Rifle Association in the Kansas governor’s race

The country’s largest and most influential gun lobby on Monday instead endorsed Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer in his Republican primary. That left Kobach claiming that he still has the backing of grassroots gun rights voters.

The NRA said its endorsement reflected Colyer’s “strong support for the Second Amendment and the hunting heritage of Kansas.”

A revival of rural Kansas can come from drawing businesses and housing to the centers of small cities and by building better highways, gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly said Monday.

In a plan she says could invigorate rural areas, the Democrat also calls for propping up small grocery stores, expanding Medicaid coverage, reopening state offices closed in recent years and fixing deteriorating housing in those areas.

In an election year with a state Supreme Court ruling hanging over their heads, Kansas lawmakers wrestled over school spending, taxes and guns.

They fought among themselves and often split ways from legislators they’d chosen as leaders.

In the end, they decided not to throw a tax cut to voters. It would have partly reversed tough political choices they made a year before to salvage state government’s troubled financial ledger.