Former state Senator and 2006 failed gubernatorial nominee Jim Barnett (R) announced his statewide candidacy for Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) open seat. Eleven years ago, Mr. Barnett lost to then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) by a landslide 58-40% result.
The 2018 Kansas Republican primary is expected to draw major contenders. Already in the contest are Secretary of State Kris Kobach, energy businessman and former congressional candidate Wink Hartman, and former state Rep. Ed O’Malley. Expected to join is Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and possibly Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Mr. Barnett is trying to separate himself from the field by hitting Gov. Brownback for his state budget policies, thus trying to capture moderate Republicans and win a split vote among multiple candidates. Kansas does not use a run-off nomination system, so obtaining a primary plurality is sufficient for victory. Gov. Brownback is ineligible to seek a third term.
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