Gov. Jeff Colyer won the endorsement of a former rival Tuesday when Wichita businessman Mark Hutton threw his support behind the incumbent.
Hutton, owner of a Wichita construction company and a former state representative, withdrew from the race last month.
He said it had become apparent he couldn't win and could only serve as a spoiler if he had stayed in the race.
Colyer is locked in a hard-fought race with Secretary of State Kris Kobach for the Republican governor nomination.
"It's apparent to me this race will come down to two men, Gov. Jeff Colyer and Kris Kobach," Hutton said. "When I weigh Gov. Colyer's demonstrated leadership, his selfless service to this state as well as to others, along with his ability to, I believe, win this next general election, he is my clear choice."
During a brief speech to the crowd, Colyer sought to highlight his performance and competence as governor, including the school finance bill he recently signed to add $500 million to school funding over the next five years.
The plan is in response to a Supreme Court order. The court will soon rule on whether the plan restores adequate and equitable funding to the K-12 education system.
"I will be the 10th governor under litigation on K-12 education, and it's got to stop," Colyer said. "I believe this will allow us to move forward very strongly and it allows us to grow as a state. It's not going to break the bank."
Colyer, the former lieutenant governor, became governor early this year when Sam Brownback accepted appointment as an ambassador in the Trump administration in Washington.
Hutton announced his endorsement at a hangar stop/luncheon at Wichita's Eisenhower National Airport. About 70 supporters attended.