Politics & Government

Former Fort Hays president Ed Hammond objects to Brownback campaign mailer

Former Fort Hays University President Edward Hammond
Former Fort Hays University President Edward Hammond Courtesy photo

Former Fort Hays University President Edward Hammond said Sunday that he didn’t give permission for his image and words to be used on a campaign mailer supporting Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Hammond, who is helping the university as it transitions to a new leader, said in an e-mail exchange with the Associated Press that he was “shocked and disappointed” when he learned about the mailer over the weekend while in China where he is traveling on business. He said he didn’t endorse Brownback, who is in a tight race with Democratic challenger Paul Davis, and is barred from publicly backing any candidate.

The Hutchinson News initially reported on Hammond’s objections to the mailer, which was produced by the Kansas Republican Party. It quotes Hammond saying, “Overall, we are very pleased with the governor’s budget recommendation.”

Brownback campaign spokesman John Milburn referred questions to the state GOP because it paid for the mailer. Clay Barker, the state GOP’s executive director, said in an e-mail that the party was “happy to highlight President Hammond’s public statement” from a WIBW story published in January. Barker said there was “no implied endorsement.”

Hammond said that when the campaign mailer began arriving at homes, people started calling and e-mailing.

“For 28 years I have never endorsed a candidate,” Hammond said in an e-mail to AP. “In addition, the Gov’s office had a memo sent out reminding State Employees they should not endorse any candidate in our official roles. Because the mailer used my name and title I wanted the Regents and the public to know that I had no knowledge of this use nor had I been contacted about this mailer.”