For Kansas Governor
Republican Candidate Derek Schmidt was widely assumed to be the presumptive nominee after Sam Brownback’s LG Jeff Colyer dropped out of the race. Before the primary, Derek Schmidt took his stance in favor of the Yes campaign on Value Them Both. On primary day, strange things happened.
First, his primary opponent, no-name candidate Arlyn Briggs garnered nearly 20% of the vote, mostly as an opposition vote to Derek Schmidt.
Second, and just prior to election day, Dennis Pyle, a Kansas Senate Republican, filed to run as an independent in the fall, submitting more than 9,000 signatures and giving Republicans a reason to divide themselves come November.
Both of these are bad news for the current attorney general, who now has to travel the road with someone he wishes he could just avoid.
In the race for Kansas Attorney General
Returning for another bite at the apple is the statewide loser of the 2018 campaign for governor, who turned over the seat to Laura Kelly. If you haven’t guessed, that man is Kris Kobach, a polarizing figure in Kansas—even among Republicans. Kobach is seen as someone who spent freely, lost tons of money for the state, and had no victories while repeatedly being shut down in the courts.
Kansas Republican leadership worked hard on behalf of Kellie Warren, who they thought could beat him, but in a 3-way divided race, she couldn’t overcome Kobach, and now Kansas Republicans are sending the weakest possible candidate into the fall, and Derek Schmidt will run into Kobach again and again and again in every parade, every county fair, and every event until election day, which will make trying to pivot remotely back to the center a difficulty.
Sharice Davids comes out a big winner
For a supposed hard red state, Kansas is the only state in the union that has elected three women as governor, and all three of them were Democrats. We are the only state currently represented by a Native American woman in congress. Kansas Republicans redrew Sharice David’s district in hopes they could oust her this year, but the results from the primary look god awful for the Republicans.
Amanda Adkins, who lost to Sharice Davids in 2020, is back again, and in her primary, she also faced off against an also-ran. Her campaign, built on the slogan: “Believe. Build” talked extensively to rural communities about being in favor of the constitutional amendment.
Adkins has offered a faith-based policy idea, hoping it attracts the smaller counties now in her district, and she was open that she would 100% back the constitutional amendment. In Johnson County, Kansas, the largest county of the state and the majority of the congressional district, Vote No prevailed with 59% of the total vote, an 89,293 vote advantage. Not counting the portions of Democratic-friendly Wyandotte county still within the Kansas congressional third district, this margin is huge and outstrips all votes possible in the Republican-added counties. This ties the strong Vote Yes position of Adkins simply did not sell.
We aren’t done in Kansas.
November is coming. With Kris Kobach on the trail and Republican candidates who bet big on a Vote Yes win on the ballot, Kansas is giving hope not just to voters nationally, but to Democratic faithful here at home. There isn’t time to celebrate just yet. I’ll let you know about that once we re-elect a governor, a congresswoman, and several office holders.
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