What Colyer announcement means for 2022 governor race

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Former Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer gave the first sign that he is running by naming a treasurer for his 2022 campaign for governor.

Colyer served as Sam Brownback’s lieutenant governor for seven years, then served as governor for just under a year, before Laura Kelly took over in 2019.

He ran for election in 2018 to serve a full term, but lost to Kris Kobach by 343 votes in the Republican primary.

Colyer hasn’t held office since. He declined to run for Pat Roberts’ senate seat in 2020. Now he seems to want to get back into politics.

“It’s certainly possible that by having a big name announcing early, it could scare off some other opponents who don’t want to deal with all the fundraising that’s involved when there’s a big name running,” said KSNT News political analyst Bob Beatty.

Though Beatty said that doesn’t work too often.

Another big name expected to run is three-term Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, but he has yet to commit.

Beatty said a primary between the two well-known candidates could impact whether other people jump in the field, such as state legislators.

A name that will continue to hover over Kansas politics is former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

No matter who comes out on the Republican side, they will be facing an incumbent governor. Laura Kelly may look vulnerable now, but Beatty said that could change as we move toward 2022.

“The time for Jeff Colyer to enter the governor’s race is good because Governor Laura Kelly is dealing with some very difficult things, and it’s a very difficult year. However, there’s also the possibility that a year from now, the pandemic is mostly gone, the economy is booming, the troubles of the department of labor are fixed,” Beatty said.

He said much of politics hangs on timing.

“It’s early enough for Colyer to enter the race, but it’s also early enough for Laura Kelly to rebound from the difficulty of this year and be in good solid position for reelection,” Beatty said.

Voters won’t get to cast their ballots until the primary in August of 2022.

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