The 2010 Reform Party's gubernatorial nominee Monday vented frustration with front runners Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly by submitting paperwork to be an official write-in candidate for governor.
Mulvane resident Ken Cannon, who received 15,300 votes eight years ago in the four-person contest won in a landslide by GOP nominee Sam Brownback, said he had been conducting an "underground" campaign for governor for months. He concealed his interest from the general public to avoid character attacks.
"I really do not like where Kris Kobach stands on a number of issues. And, I don't think Kelly can win," said Cannon, a retired educator. "I'm a little Republican and I'm a little Democrat."
Recent polling indicated Kelly and Kobach were statistically tied at about 40 percent. Independent candidate Greg Orman was at 10 percent. Others on the Nov. 6 ballot are Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail, the Republican Governor's Association introduced a commercial describing Kobach as someone who would "hold the line on taxes," which conflicts with the GOP candidate's promise to cut sales, income and property taxes. The ad said Kobach would invest more state tax dollars in public school classrooms.
"Kansas needs a leader who will invest in education without raising taxes – not a liberal who would be a tax-hiking disaster," said David Weinman, a spokesman for the GOP organization.
The Democratic Governors Association released a video noting the dozens of Kansas Republicans who endorsed Kelly. The list includes former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and former Republican Govs. Mike Hayden and Bill Graves and Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin.
The only living ex-governor of Kansas not to endorse the Democratic Party's nominee was Brownback, who stepped down in early 2018 to work in the administration of President Donald Trump.
“In this era of partisan divides, the one thing that can unite all Kansans is opposing Kris Kobach,” said Jared Leopold, the Democratic organization's spokesman. "Republicans and Democrats alike want to end the Brownback tax experiment and reinvest in Kansas’ schools, while Kris Kobach is trying to become Sam Brownback 2.0.”
Kelly released a new campaign finance report indicating she raised $3.05 million since opening her campaign in December. Since the previous report in July, Kelly raised $2.3 million. Eight of 10 donations were less than $100, and fewer than 2 percent of contributions were from political action committees, corporations or businesses.
"Kansans of all political stripes have a home in our campaign to rebuild our state," Kelly said. "They know I spent my career working to improve the lives of others and will always put the best interests of our children and families first as governor."
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