KANSAS
     Nov. 6, 2018 Governor

Gov.
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+Laura Kelly/Lynn Rogers (D)
506,727
48.01%
Kris Kobach/Wink Hartman (R)
453,645
42.98%
Greg Orman/John Doll (I)
68,590
6.50%
Jeff Caldwell/Mary Gerit (L)
20,020
1.90%
Rick Kloos/Nathaniel Kloos (I)
6,584
0.62%

1,055,566

Plurality 53,082 votes (5.03 percentage points).
 KS Secretary of State




Notes
:
Jeff Colyer became governor after term-limited Gov. Sam Brownback (R) resigned effective Jan. 31, 2018 to serve as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.  In the Aug. 7 primary Secretary of State Kris Kobach defeated Gov. Colyer by just 343 votes (0.11 percentage points); Colyer conceded on Aug. 14.  President Trump had weighed in with a late endorsement of Kobach on Aug. 6.  On the Democratic side Senate Assistant Minority Leader Laura Kelly won the primary with 51.4% of the vote over four other candidates.  Greg Orman, a Johnson County businessman who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, launched his Independent bid in Dec. 2017.  Also running were Jeff Caldwell (L) and Rick Kloos (I).

In Kansas, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a ticket.  Orman announced state Sen. John Doll (R), a one-time Democrat, as his running mate on March 7; Doll switched his registration to independent; Kobach announced Wichita businessman Wink Hartman as his running mate on March 21; and Kelly announced state Sen. Lynn Rogers as her running mate on May 24.

Kobach, who had achieved a national reputation as a hardliner on illegal immigration and was vice chair of Trump's failed Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, was seen by some Republicans as too strident and too extreme. 
After the Brownback era, cutting taxes and spending, as Kobach advocated, was a difficult sell.  Prominent Republicans including former Gov. Bill Graves [1995-2003] (on Sept. 4), U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (on Sept. 18), and former Gov. Mike Hayden [1987-91] (on Oct. 18) supported Kelly.  The Kelly campaign worked hard to tie Kobach to the unpopular "Brownback experiment" and advocated for less partisan approach. 

President Trump rallied in Topeka on Oct. 6 (+) and Vice President Pence headlined a fundraiser for Kobach in Wichita on Oct. 18.
 
The three top candidates debated at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park, sponsored by the Johnson County Bar Association and produced by KCPT, on Sept. 5 (1, 2); at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson on Sept. 9 (+) [radio and online]; at the
Kansas Association of Broadcasters in Wichita on Oct. 16 (+), and at KSNW studios in Wichita on Oct. 30 (+).
 
Kelly achieved the upset win over Kobach, becoming the first Democrat to be elected governor since Kathleen Sebelius was re-elected to a second term in 2006.  Orman, despite having an equal footing on the stage and despite running a credible campaign, was seen by many as having no chance of winning and have the potential to hand the race to Kobach.  Ultimately he obtained just 6.5% of the vote.


Campaign Managers:
Kris Kobach: 
Rep. J.R. Claeys
(reported May 16, 2018 as part of campaign shake up)  Represents District 69 in the Kansas House of Representatives, first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.  Candidate for Kansas Secretary of State, 2009-10.  President and CEO of the National Association of Government Contractors.  Director of communications for the National Small Business Association.  Worked in fundraising for the RNC.  M.P.A. from The George Washington University School of Business; undergraduate degree from Kansas State University.  Fifth generation Kansan, born and raised in Salina.

Laura Kelly:  Jordanna "Jordy" Zeigler
Previously Western political director at EMILY's List.  Western regional candidate services director at the DCCC in 2012.


Greg Orman: Tim Phillips
 

 

 

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