Politics & Government

Who’s running for Kansas governor? An up-to-date guide

By Jonathan Shorman

jshorman@wichitaeagle.com

June 03, 2018 07:00 AM

The 2018 campaign for Kansas governor has produced a large field of candidates -- from elected officials, businessmen and even high schoolers.

The race for the Republican and Democratic nominations feature some of the top figures in both parties, as well as those who have been off the political scene for years.

Click here for The Eagle’s online voter guide

Except for independent candidates, all other candidates had to officially file to join the race by June 1. The major candidates have all named running mates in recent days, and the summer campaign season is in full swing ahead of the August 7 primary election.

Here are candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as independent and Libertarian hopefuls.

Democratic candidates

Carl Brewer

Carl Brewer

Position: Retired from government relations position with Spirit AeroSystems

Past: Mayor of Wichita, 2007-2015

Education: Friends University

Website: www.brewerforkansas.com

Raised: $45,470 in 2017

Running mate: Chris Morrow, former mayor of Gardner

Brewer was the first Democrat to enter the race, on Feb. 20, 2017. He is critical of the past management of the state and has said state services are under financial stress.

He has promised a community activist campaign.

Aug. 7 is the primary for the Kansas governor election in 2018. Here are five things you should know about Democratic candidate Carl Brewer.

By

Laura Kelly



Position: State senator

Past: Director of Kansas Recreation and Park Association

Education: Bradley University, Indiana University Bloomington

Website: https://www.laurakellyforkansas.com/

Raised: $155,691 in 2017

Running mate: Sen. Lynn Rogers, a former Wichita school board member

Kelly, of Topeka, has often focused on social services and welfare during her time in the Legislature. She has been a frequent critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration, especially about how the state has run its foster care system.

She was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

Aug. 7 is the primary for the Kansas governor election in 2018. Here are five things you should know about Democratic candidate Laura Kelly.

By

Josh Svaty

Joshua Svaty



Position: Farmer

Past: State secretary of agriculture, 2009-2011; Kansas House, 2003-2009

Education: Sterling College, Washburn University

Website: https://joshuasvaty.com/

Raised: $192,545 in 2017

Running mate: Katrina Lewison, a member of the Manhattan-Ogden school board

Svaty entered the race May 16, 2017. He became the second Democrat to jump in, triggering the first contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Kansas in two decades.

His anti-abortion voting record in the Kansas House could prompt questions in the Democratic primary. He has said he thinks the focus of the race should remain on the state’s finances, schools and quality-of-life issues.

In addition to serving in state government, Svaty has worked as a senior adviser in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aug. 7 is the primary for the Kansas governor election in 2018. Here are five things you should know about Democratic candidate Joshua Svaty.

By

Also running:

Arden Anderson, of Olathe

Jack Bergeson, The Independent School student

Republican candidates

Jim Barnett

Jim Barnett



Position: Physician, president of the Shawnee County Medical Society

Past: State Senate, 2001-2010; ran for governor in 2006

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Emporia State University, 1976; M.D., University of Kansas, 1979

Website: www.barnettforkansas.com/

Raised: $59,645 in 2017; self-donated $505,000

Running mate: Rosie Hansen, his wife and a former foreign services officer

Barnett formally announced his candidacy on June 20, 2017. He advocates for restoring funding diverted from the Kansas Department of Transportation and has endorsed the Legislature’s actions to stabilize the state budget.

He won the Republican nomination for governor in 2006 before losing to incumbent Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, in the general election.

Jeff Colyer



Position: Governor since January 31, plastic surgeon

Past: Lieutenant governor, 2011-2018; Kansas House, 2007-2009; Kansas Senate, 2009-2011

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, Georgetown University; master’s degree in international relations, Cambridge University; medical degree, University of Kansas

Website: https://www.jeffcolyer.com/

Raised: $632,067 in 2017

Running mate: Tracey Mann, the lieutenant governor

Colyer became governor in late January when Brownback resigned to accept a diplomatic post.

As lieutenant governor, he was in charge of the launch of KanCare, the state’s managed care program for Medicaid.

As governor, he has signed executive orders intended to increase government transparency. He also signed a bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to turn away gay and lesbian individuals.

Aug. 7 is the primary for the Kansas governor election. Here are five things you should know about Republican candidate Jeff Colyer.

By

Kris Kobach

Kris Kobach
File photo



Position: Kansas secretary of state since 2011

Past: Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, 2007-2009

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Harvard University; law degree, Yale Law School; master’s degree and doctorate in political science, Oxford University

Website: https://kriskobach.com/

Raised: $354,732 in 2017

Running mate: Wink Hartman, a Wichita businessman and former Republican candidate for governor

Kobach has criticized the Legislature for its decision to override Brownback’s veto of tax increases meant to help balance the state budget. He has promised to keep undocumented immigrants from receiving welfare services.

Kobach has gained a national reputation for championing a law requiring voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote and for advising President Donald Trump on immigration and voting issues.

In May 2017, Trump named Kobach to a federal commission to examine the integrity of elections, though Trump later dissolved the commission.

Aug. 7 is the primary for the Kansas governor election. Here are five things you should know about Republican candidate Kris Kobach.

By

Ken Selzer

Ken Selzer
Wichita Eagle File photo



Position: Kansas insurance commissioner

Past: Executive managing director of a brokerage and insurance services firm

Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, Kansas State University; master’s degree in business administration, University of Southern California

Website: http://kansansforselzer.com/

Raised: $427,762 in 2017; loaned himself $285,700

Running mate: Jenifer Sanderson, a Goodland businesswoman

Selzer has highlighted his service as insurance commissioner, saying that he made the department more efficient and customer-friendly.

His campaign has stressed an ability to run government well.

Also running:

Patrick Kucera, Leawood businessman

Tyler Ruzich, Shawnee Mission North High School student

Independent candidates

Greg Orman



Position: Businessman

Education: Princeton University

Website: https://www.ormanforkansas.com/

Raised: $452,931 in 2017

Running mate: Sen. John Doll of Garden City

Orman ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2014 as an independent against Republican Pat Roberts. He is frequently critical of the two-party system.

Orman must turn in 5,000 signatures by Aug. 6 to secure a spot on the November general election ballot.

Also running:

Aaron Coleman, of Overland Park

Richard Kloos, of Topeka

Todd Mitchell, of Topeka

William Stofer, of Wichita

Libertarian candidate

Jeff Caldwell

Position: Libertarian Party official, works in sales

Past: Caldwell has been active in politics for more than a decade and has previously assisted other campaigns.

Website: https://www.caldwellforkansas.com/

Raised: $6,290

Caldwell is focused on ending some taxes and restricting others. He wants to end the food sales tax, lower the gas tax, and provide tax cuts to farmers.

He also wants to allow for statewide ballot initiatives and legalize marijuana.

Also running:

Ethan Randleas, Wichita Heights High School student

Contributing: Dion Lefler of The Eagle

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman