Kansas GOP bids kick-off for 2022 race for governor; political analyst weighs in

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)— Some Kansas Republicans are moving quickly to launch their campaigns for governor in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Two top Republican figures have announced their intention to run. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made his announcement in a video Tuesday morning.

“We’re going to focus on where I want to take the state. We want to go forward. We don’t want to go backwards,” Schmidt said in an interview.

Schmidt noted his plans to run as a “common-sense conservative,” having a long-standing track record in Kansas politics as a state senator for 10 years and serving as the attorney general since 2011.

Schmidt’s campaign launch comes just days after former Kansas governor, Dr. Jeff Colyer, signaled his bid.

Colyer released a statement shortly after the Attorney General’s announcement, framing him as a “reactive moderate.” Schmidt called Colyer’s feedback an “unfortunate approach,” and said he doesn’t plan to “go down that road.”

In an interview Tuesday, Colyer noted his intent to push the state toward recovery, after the downfalls of the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we’re looking at is how we’re going to deal with the problems Kansas faces right now. Dealing with coronavirus, getting our kids back in school, and getting our economy growing again,” he said.

Both Colyer and Schmidt are planning to face-off to determine who will take on the current democrat incumbent, Governor Laura Kelly, next year.

According to Political Analyst Dr. Bob Beatty, a strong conservative front may be the key to success, as the country faces a Post-Trump era.

“This is a very unusual time in American politics,” Dr. Beatty said. “It’s very possible that there is a candidate out there that will try to present himself or herself as the ‘Trump’ candidate.”

Kansas GOP Chair Mike Kuckelman told Kansas’ Capitol Bureau the following in response to the two Republican bids.

“At this point, we have two solid Republican candidates in the race, and we are prepared to back the GOP primary winner. We believe Governor Kelly’s mismanagement of Covid, and the Kansas Department of Labor throws the door wide open to replace her.”

Kansas GOP Chair Mike Kuckelman

The governor’s received pushback from some republicans for her response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kansas Democratic Party backed the governor’s efforts on Tuesday, releasing a statement in response to the Attorney General’s bid.

“First, she came into office and cleaned up the Brownback mess – balancing the budget and fully funding our schools, all without a tax increase. Now she’s making sure Kansans recover from COVID-19 and get back on their feet,” KDP Chair Vicki Hiatt said.

Gov. Kelly has recently passed legislation to help in the state’s economic development efforts and announced her plans to onboard more customer service representatives for the state’s unemployment contact center to field the high volume of callers that have faced financial hardship during the pandemic.

The winner of the Republican primary elections for the 2022 gubernatorial election will face Kelly in the race.

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