Politics & Government

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

Candidates for Kansas governor talk tax cuts and growing the state’s economy

Kansas gubernatorial candidates Democrat Laura Kelly, Republican Kris Kobach and independent Greg Orman faced-off for a debate Sept. 5, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park. The debate was sponsored by the Johnson County Bar Association.
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Kansas gubernatorial candidates Democrat Laura Kelly, Republican Kris Kobach and independent Greg Orman faced-off for a debate Sept. 5, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park. The debate was sponsored by the Johnson County Bar Association.

The 2018 campaign for Kansas governor produced a large field of candidates — from elected officials, businessmen and even high schoolers. But now, after August primaries, there are just five.

Here’s who you will see on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Click here for The Eagle’s online voter guide

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Laura Kelly

kelly



Party: Democrat

Position: State senator

Past: Director of Kansas Recreation and Park Association

Education: Bradley University, Indiana University Bloomington

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

Raised: $733,463 through Aug. 2

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

Key endorsements: Kansas National Education Association PAC, Kansas Fraternal Order of Police, former Republican Gov. Bill Graves

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.

As a candidate for governor, Kelly has promised to support education and education funding. She is supportive of a $500 million school funding increase approved by the Legislature that is being phased in over five years.

She was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

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Here are five things you should know about Democratic candidate Laura Kelly.

Kris Kobach

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Kris Kobach File photo

Party: Republican

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: $2,053,460 through Aug. 2

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

Key endorsements: Kansas State Council of Firefighters, National Rifle Association, President Donald Trump

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.

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

Greg Orman

orman



Party: Independent

Position: Businessman

Education: Princeton University

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

Raised: $1,348,805 through Aug. 2

Running mate: Sen. John Doll of Garden City

Key endorsements: Former Colyer campaign chairman Steve Baccus, Serve America Movement

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.

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Jeff Caldwell

Jeff Caldwell

Party: Libertarian

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 through April 9

Running mate: Mary Gerlt

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.

Rick Kloos

Party: Independent

Position: Founder and director of a nonprofit

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Ministerial Studies and Theology

Website: https://kloosforkansas.com/

Raised: $5,330 through Aug. 2

Running mate: Nathaniel Kloos

Contributing: Dion Lefler of The Eagle

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman

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