TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)— New political ads in Kansas are making waves on and off the air.
A radio ad paid for by American Center, an organization based in Washington D.C., is supporting Independent gubernatorial candidate Dennis Pyle. Kansas Republicans say the group is tied to a Democratic law firm in D.C., Perkins Coie.
Mike Kuckelman, Kansas GOP Chair, said left-leaning groups are attempting to sway votes before Election Day.
“What they really want to do is trick voters into voting for Dennis Pyle to get Governor Kelly elected… It’s political trickery,” Kuckelman said.
The ad bashes Republican gubernatorial nominee Derek Schmidt, accusing him of being a “moderate,” “RINO” Republican with “no backbone.” It also touts Pyle as the “only conservative on the ballot.”
It’s not stated whether the group running the ads is affiliated with a particular party on their website. However, according to an article posted on the American Center website, the group is “fighting to bring American politics back to its roots of pragmatism, centrism, and reaching across the aisle to put country before party.”
The organization also appears to share an office space with Perkins Coie, according to an address listed under their campaign filings on FEC.
Kansas Capitol Bureau reached out to a media representative for Perkins Coie, Justin Cole, to inquire about the nature of the relationship between the firm and American Center. However, Cole did not respond to an email or phone calls on Thursday.
The Kansas Democratic Party also declined to comment on the ad. A spokeswoman said they “are not involved.”
Meanwhile, GOP members argue that this latest political attack is being used to siphon votes from Schmidt in an attempt to help Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly. Kelly’s campaign did not respond to Kansas Capitol Bureau’s request for comment on those claims.
Kuckelman emphasized that a vote for Dennis Pyle would be equivalent to a vote for Kelly in the election.
“Some democrats out of DC are promoting him in a false way… I mean, to trick voters,” Kuckelman said. “I wish the Kelly campaign would come out and be honest about that and speak the truth on this issue, so that voters are not misled and tricked.”
Pyle did not respond to an interview request Thursday, but he did send a statement to Kansas Capitol Bureau, stating that his team is only responsible for ads run by their campaign.
“Pyle For Kansas is only responsible for our campaign and thus all our ads have ‘paid for by Pyle For Kansas’,” Pyle said. “I can only attest to the fact that they are coming from an unknow entity that is obviously funded by the republican and democrat uniparty.”