TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared victory Wednesday, one day after an election that has been neck and neck. Attorney General Derek Schmidt, her republican opponent, congratulated her in a statement released to the media.

“The people of Kansas sent a very clear message at the polls yesterday,” Kelly said. “Kansans said we will keep moving forward as a state, full steam ahead – there will be no turning back.” The governor thanked Attorney General Schmidt for his service to the state. Kelly said in a statement that she and Schmidt had strong, healthy disagreements on the issues.

“Therefore, I congratulate Governor Kelly on her apparent reelection and wish the best for our beloved state during the next four years,” Schmidt said. “It has been a tremendous honor to be the nominee of the Republican Party for governor of Kansas.”

“I believe Kansans voted for civility, for cooperation, for listening to one another, and for a spirit of bi-partisan problem solving, that’s become all too rare in our politics today,” Kelly said.

At the time Kelly declared victory, she had 49.2% of the vote, and Derek Schmidt had 47.6% with just over 20,000 votes to count, according to NBC News.

Independent candidate Dennis Pyle blamed Schmidt’s loss on his electability.

In a statement to the media, Pyle blamed the GOP and said it could have done better. Pyle said Schmidt could not beat Kelly, “based on the historical record of the left-wing Republicans.”

“As much as Kansas desperately needed a conservative governor, the Republican party gave us a candidate that could not and did not win,” Pyle said.

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