kansas governor

The five candidates for Kansas governor faced off at a forum Tuesday night in Wichita.

It was a rare opportunity for independent Rick Kloos and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell to share a stage with the three major candidates — Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

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

Take a look at the Kansas budget and one item looms large, eating up more state spending than anything else.

Schools swallow about $4.5 billion. That spending rose after an infusion of cash by lawmakers earlier this year in response to a court ruling in a long-running fight over whether state government does enough to support public education.

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.

A new poll by Emerson College in Massachusetts finds the Kansas governor’s race is a statistical tie with five weeks to go until the general election.

The poll reports 37 percent of voters surveyed chose Republican Kris Kobach and 36 percent chose Democrat Laura Kelly if the election was held now.

Independent candidate Greg Orman received support from 9 percent of voters. About 15 percent of those surveyed are still undecided.

The poll indicates President Donald Trump is popular in Kansas with a 55 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval rating.

The Kansas economy has been sluggish the past few years, but the candidates running for governor each have a plan to jumpstart things.

Will any of them actually work?

The top contenders running for governor say Kansas should not follow Colorado’s lead and legalize recreational marijuana, but they differ on medical marijuana.

(This story has been updated.)

Gov. Jeff Colyer lost a nail-biter Republican primary for governor to Secretary of Kris Kobach and quickly backed the man who beat him.

At least one key member of his campaign, however, moved on Monday to jump ship from the party’s nominee.

Colyer campaign chairman and longtime former Kansas Farm Bureau president Steve Baccus threw his support to independent candidate Greg Orman.

Independent candidate for Kansas governor Greg Orman will stay on the ballot after state officials rejected a challenge to his candidacy Thursday.

Will Lawrence, a staffer for the state Senate’s top Democrat, had questioned thousands of the signatures Orman used to secure a spot in the race, saying they weren’t collected properly or notarized correctly.

The counting, sorting and contesting of ballots in the Republican primary for Kansas governor continued on Monday. It could be just the beginning.

Incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer last week began criticizing his rival for the nomination, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, for how he was overseeing the election and how he had schooled local election officials on provisional votes.

County election officials across Kansas on Monday will begin deciding which provisional ballots from last week's primary election will count toward the final official vote totals, with the possibility that they could create a new leader in the hotly contested Republican race for governor.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach led Gov. Jeff Colyer by a mere 110 votes out more than 313,000 cast as of Friday evening . That was after late mail-in ballots were added to totals from absentee voting and ballots cast at the polls Tuesday.

(This story has been updated to reflect new developments.)

On Wednesday, the contenders in the Republican race for governor pledged to back the ultimate winner and to make sure their photo-finish primary wouldn’t stall any general election campaign push.

Come Thursday, incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer made clear that he thought his opponent and state election overseer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was exactly the wrong guy to be certifying the results.

Updated 10:35 p.m. Aug., 9, 2018: In a cable news interview Thursday night, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he will recuse himself from the vote-counting process in the closely contested Republican gubernatorial primary. 

"There really is no point to it, but I've said if my opponent wishes me to, I'd be happy to. It's purely symbolic. I don't think he understands the process," Kobach told CNN's Chris Cuomo. 

He went on to say he would make a "formal response" to Gov. Jeff Colyer's recusal request Friday. 

As of Thursday, the Republican primary for Kansas governor was a long way from being decided.

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. 

Most of the focus so far this election season in Kansas has been on the competitive primaries for gubernatorial and congressional nominations. But races for the state House could prove just as consequential.

Across the state, conservatives are challenging moderate Republicans and Democrats in a coordinated effort to reclaim legislative seats they lost in 2016.

Truth, it’s said, is the first casualty of war. That helps explain why combat metaphors so often get applied to political campaigns.

The battlefield of the Kansas governor’s race bears out the maxim. Even when candidates get their facts right — a surprisingly difficult task for the field — their words tend to twist a broader truth.

It helps, the latest Kansas campaign money tallies show, to be rich or have wealthy friends.

Next best thing, run as an incumbent.

Campaign finance reports for the first half of this year show dollars spent nearly as quickly as candidates could corral them — filling airwaves, plastering billboards and stuffing mailboxes with flyers.

Meet 7 Candidates For Kansas Governor

Jul 24, 2018

Kansas is electing a governor this year, a pick that'll go a long way in deciding what direction the state goes on school funding, health care, gun control, taxes and spending.  

The Republican primary field tilts to the right, with the contenders tussling over whose credentials and attitude would be the most effective in fulfilling a conservative agenda. Democrats voting on Aug. 7 have to wrangle with whether to go moderate or hold tight to a progressive platform.

Host Steve Kraske interviewed the leading candidates from both parties on KCUR’s Up To Date. 

If there’s one common refrain from nearly all of the Kansas candidates for governor — Republicans and Democrats — it’s support for the Second Amendment.

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.

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Ben Kuebrich / High Plains Public Radio

At a Republican governor candidate forum in Garden City, Wednesday, former doctor Jim Barnett said expanding Medicaid would save lives and communities – by keeping rural hospitals running. But he was alone in his support of the state and federal program that defrays medical costs for people with limited income and resources.

Other candidates decried Medicaid's cost and the management of Kansas’s privatized Medicaid delivery system, Kancare. Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced his intention to massively overhaul the system.

Some Republican gubernatorial candidates are calling for the end of in-state tuition for undocumented students at public universities in Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants undocumented students to pay the more expensive non-resident tuition rate. Gov. Jeff Colyer expressed a similar view during a Republican forum Tuesday night hosted by KWCH and KMUW.

The final flurry of filings ahead of the Kansas primaries in August didn’t disappoint.

“This is one of the busiest days of the year, every two-year cycle,” said Secretary of State Kris Kobach, surveying the last crop of candidates that paraded in just before the noon deadline Friday.

Performance artist Vermin Supreme made his entrance dressed in tie-dye and with his signature rain boot on his head. He filled out the paperwork to challenge Attorney General Derek Schmidt in the Republican primary, listing a Rockport, Massachusetts, address.

Josh Svaty picked a political no-name to team with in his run for governor.

But the pick is someone who checks off boxes that Svaty can’t with voters in the Democratic primary and, if things play out right for him, in the general election.

Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita suspended his campaign for governor on Wednesday.

Ward will instead focus on being re-elected to the House.

They dueled with pens and camera-ready events. The two men split over what could become a defining issue in their battle to win this year’s governor’s race, and over whether Kansas needs to spend more to fix its public schools.

Gov. Jeff Colyer went to a Topeka high school early Tuesday — a performance he planned to repeat later in the day in Wichita — to sign into law a plan to balloon the money sent to local districts by $500 million-plus over the next half-decade.

 

On Monday, the Ford County Farm Bureau, held a meet and greet forum with candidates for Kansas Governor at the Dodge City Community College.

In attendance were Democrats Arden Andersen, Carl Brewer, and Josh Svaty, Republicans Jim Barnett, and Ken Seltzer and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell. Governor Colyer sent deputy secretary of agriculture, Jackie McClaskey, as his representative and Kris Kobach’s running mate Wink Hartman attended in Kobach’s place.

Candidates were asked questions about western Kansas, agriculture, and the future of the state.