Politics & Government

Endorsement guide: See who’s backing the Kansas governor candidates

A sign for advance voting outside the Old Sedgwick County Courthouse on Friday. The primary for the 2018 mid-term election is this upcoming Tuesday.
A sign for advance voting outside the Old Sedgwick County Courthouse on Friday. The primary for the 2018 mid-term election is this upcoming Tuesday. The Wichita Eagle

Kris Kobach landed the highest-profile endorsement of all on Monday: President Donald Trump.

Trump’s endorsement of the Kansas Republican secretary of state for governor came via Twitter a day before voters head to the polls.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re unaffiliated, you can still vote in the primary election if you declare a party at your polling place.

Over the past several months, the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor have won endorsements from a variety of people and groups. The candidates tout support from a variety of organizations, each with its own perspective on the campaigns.

To give you a sense of which candidates have earned endorsements, The Eagle gathered up a list of some prominent ones. The lists aren’t meant to be all-inclusive, but are intended to provide a sample of endorsements for each major primary candidate for governor.


Kris Kobach, secretary of state: In his tweet, the president said Kobach is strong on crime, the border and the military. Trump called Kobach a “fantastic guy” and a “strong and early supporter of mine.”

Kobach has served as an informal adviser to Trump on immigration policy and was vice chair of the president’s commission on election integrity.

Other endorsements:

<bullet>Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.

<bullet>Kansans for Life

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Jeff Colyer, governor: The Kansas Farm Bureau endorsed Colyer in June. KFB is a major organization within the state’s agricultural community.

In its endorsement, KFB said Colyer had the most-solid commitment to the need of the state’s agricultural and farming community.

Other endorsements:

<bullet>The National Rifle Association

<bullet>Kansans for Life

<bullet>Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole

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Jim Barnett: The former state senator received the endorsement in the Republican primary from the American Federation of Teachers-Kansas. The group, which is affiliated with the Kansas Organization of State Employees and other unions of public employees in Kansas, said its values aligned with Barnett’s.

Other endorsements:

<bullet>The editorial boards of The Wichita Eagle, The Kansas City Star, The Garden City Telegram and other newspapers

<bullet>Kansas Traditional Republicans for Common Sense

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Ken Selzer, insurance commissioner: Kansans for Life did not formally endorse Selzer, but noted in its endorsements list that he is pro-life.

Selzer also enjoys an A rating from the NRA, though the group did not endorse him.


Laura Kelly, state senator: Planned Parenthood Great Plaints Votes endorsed Kelly in July. The group said Kelly has been an unwavering supporter of women’s rights and affordable healthcare.

Abortion rights supporters have expressed qualms with one of Kelly’s opponents, Josh Svaty, who had an anti-abortion voting record during his time as a state lawmakers.

Other endorsements:

<bullet>Emily’s List

<bullet>Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

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Josh Svaty: Former Kansas Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch endorsed Svaty in July. Kinch said Svaty and his running mate, Katrina Lewison, are smart, energetic, dedicated and dynamic. Svaty’s ideas resonate broadly across the state, Kinch said.

Svaty will inspire a resurgent and optimistic Kansas, Kinch said.

Other endorsements:

<bullet>Former Gov. John Carlin

<bullet>11 Democratic state lawmakers

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Carl Brewer:

The former Wichita mayor has been endorsed by former vice mayor Lavonta Williams in the race. Brewer helped lead Wichita through the recession, she says in her endorsement.

Williams said Brewer is a family man and a hard worker who perseveres.

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