The Eagle and KPTS, Channel 8, are hosting a televised debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidates next Tuesday and by then, it’s possible each of the front-runners will have a new poll that says they’re in the lead.
The debate, which will be taped at 7 p.m. and aired live on The Eagle's Facebook page, will be aired at 8 p.m. July 19 on KPTS. Watching live on the Facebook page, viewers can ask questions that may be asked during the debate.
Each of the front-runners — former Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, and former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty — can point to a recent poll that puts them ahead of the others in some way.
The polls are so wildly different that it’s up to the consumer to figure out which to believe.
On Tuesday, Svaty’s campaign released results of a poll taken in late June that shows him with 33-percent support, followed by 28 percent for Kelly and 15 percent for Brewer. Twenty-three percent were undecided.
But that poll, commissioned by the Svaty campaign, is based on preferences made after likely Democratic primary voters were given “positive messaging” about all candidates, according to the campaign.
Take “positive messaging” for what it’s worth.
Kelly was the clear leader in polling conducted by her campaign last month, 35 percent compared to 22 for Brewer and 12 for Svaty.
In the same polling, Brewer was listed as best-known among the candidates at 43 percent, followed by Kelly (39 percent) and Svaty (27 percent).
Four weeks remain before the Aug. 7 primary, and by now candidates are preparing for the stretch run. It seems clear that no one enjoys statewide name-recognition advantages over the others, meaning the stretch run could get interesting.
Let’s see if it starts with next week’s debate.
All five Democratic candidates have committed to appear next week, including Olathe physician Arden Andersen and Wichita high school student Jack Bergeson. Former KAKE-TV anchor Susan Peters will moderate, and I will be a panelist along with KPTS “Kansas Week” host Pilar Pedraza and Friends University political science professor Russell Arben Fox.