TOPEKA — Leading Republican candidate Sam Brownback plans to announce a running mate next week in his bid for Kansas governor, and some speculation Thursday centered on a former legislator from a Kansas City suburb.
Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn, who'd been seen for weeks as a potential lieutenant governor choice, said she's not on Brownback's ticket.
Brownback, who's giving up his U.S. Senate seat to seek the governor's office this year, scheduled rallies in eight cities Tuesday and Wednesday to introduce his running mate. The first event is 9 a.m. Tuesday at an Overland Park shopping center.
Fellow Republicans most often mentioned Dunn and former state Sen. Nick Jordan of Shawnee as potential running mates for Brownback.
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Jordan did not return telephone messages left at his home.
Dunn said, "I am not Sam's running mate."
Brownback aides wouldn't drop any hints about his choice. But campaign manager David Kensinger said the lieutenant governor candidate will have both business and public-sector experience and be a community leader.
"There were a couple of dozen people considered for this process," Kensinger said Thursday. "They were from all across the state."
Brownback and his running mate also will hold a rally Tuesday in Topeka, where they plan to file with the Secretary of State's Office to guarantee themselves a spot on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. Governor and lieutenant governor candidates in Kansas file and run as a team.
Brownback also scheduled rallies in Pittsburg and Wichita for Tuesday, followed by events Wednesday in Hutchinson, Garden City, Hays and Salina.
Another GOP candidate for governor, Derby resident Joan Heffington, already has filed. She's a former homebuilder and the founder of a nonprofit group attacking what she sees as corruption among attorneys. Her running mate is Mark Holick, pastor of the Spirit One Christian Center in Wichita.
Most Republicans expect Brownback to win the primary. The leading Democratic contender is state Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, who has yet to announce a running mate.
Jordan, who's had a long career in the tourism and hotel industries, served 13 years in the Kansas Senate. He gave up his Senate seat to run as the GOP nominee in the 3rd Congressional District in 2008, losing to incumbent Democrat Dennis Moore.
He started another campaign in the 3rd District this year but dropped out in April.
Governors have sometimes given lieutenant governors Cabinet positions, and some Republicans have seen Jordan as a potential commerce secretary.
Kensinger said Brownback and his running mate haven't settled on the lieutenant governor's exact role.