KANSAS
     Nov. 8, 2022 Governor                                      

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Sen.2
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+Laura Kelly/David Toland (D) i
499,849
49.54%
Derek Schmidt/Katie Sawyer (R)
477,591
47.31%
Dennis Pyle/Kathleen E. Garrison (I)
20,452
2.03%
Seth Cordell/Evan Laudick-Gains (L) 11,106
1.10%
 
1,008,998
 
Plurality: 22,258 votes (2.21 percentage points)
 KS Secretary of State




Notes: 
Gov. Laura Kelly (D) won a second term (>), defeating Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), chiropractor Seth Cordell (L), and conservative state Sen. Dennis Pyle (I)

Kelly was a top target for Republicans.  The Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball both rated the race as a toss up. 
Kelly was able to win in 2018 running against flawed Republican nominee Kris Kobach.  In 2020 Trump won by 14.65 percentage points, carrying 100 counties to five for Biden.
 
Two factors added uncertainty to the fall campaign.  The Aug. 2, 2022 primary saw a surge in registration and record turnout driven by the vote on the
"Value Them Both" constitutional amendment, which voters defeated by a 59% to 41% margin (+).  Second, if Pyle's candidacy gelled it might take votes away from Schmidt.

Kelly emphasized that she was governing from the middle.  The ticket was different than in 2018; in Dec. 2020, Kelly announced she would appoint Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers as Kansas Treasurer, and would appoint David Toland, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce, to succeed him.  Kelly/Toland won the Aug. 2, 2022 primary with 93.8% of the vote.

On the Republican side,
Schmidt was elected Attorney General in 2010 after serving a decade in the State Senate, including six years as Majority Leader.  He announced his candidacy on Mar. 9, 2021 (>).  Schmidt announced Katie Sawyer, state director to U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R), as his running mate on June 1, 2022.  Earlier it appeared that Schmidt would be competing in a possibly contentious primary race against former Gov. Jeff Colyer.  Colyer announced on Apr. 19, 2021 but ended his campaign on Aug. 30, following a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and endorsed Schmidt.  Schmidt/Sawyer easily prevailed in the Aug. 2 primary, garnering 80.6% of the vote.
 
Pyle, a farmer from Hiawatha serving his fifth term in the Senate, was a late entrant.  On June 1, 2022 he switched from Republican to unaffiliated, and on June 7 he filed to run as an independent, with Clearwater school board member Kathleen Garrison as his running mate. 
Pyle also ran for Congress in 2010 and 2018.  He needed to submit a petition with 5,000 signatures by Aug. 1 to qualify for the ballot.  He reported submitting 8,894 signatures, and on Aug. 25 the Kansas Secretary of State's office announced he he had qualified. 
 
Kelly and Schmidt debated twice: at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson on Sept. 10 (>), and at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park, hosted by the Johnson County Bar Association with Kansas City PBS on Oct. 5 (>).

Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) campaigned with Schmidt on Sept. 18 at a rally in Olathe sponsored by Turning Point Action and former Vice President rallied with Schmidt on Oct. 21 in Wichita.  Schmidt and Sawyer closed out the campaign with a "Kansas Can Do Better" tour, visiting dozens of communities starting on Oct. 23. 

The Kelly campaign raised over $7.7 million for the cycle, a record for a gubernatorial campaign.  Kelly, who had earlier been criticized by the Schmidt campaign for not having any plan for her second term, presented her priorities, billed as "The Road Ahead," in several announcements in October.

Campaign Managers:
Laura Kelly:  Shelbi Dantic
(Dec. 2021)  Campaign manager on Carolyn Bourdeaux for Congress (GA), 2020 [only seat to flip R to D; in Oct. 2021 the American Association of Political Consultants named Dantic "Campaign Manager of the Year, Non-Statewide" for her work on the  campaign].  Worked at Blue Leadership Collaborative.  Deputy campaign manager on Sen. Jon Tester's 2018 re-election.  Political director at Montana Conservation Voters.  Degree in political science from University of Montana, 2014.  From Missoula.  twitter

Derek Schmidt:  CJ Grover
(June 2021)  Communications director for the Kansas Republican Party, Aug. 2020-Apr. 2021.  Ran Plains PAC, which supported Roger Marshall in the 2020 Republican U.S. Senate primary.  Spokesman for AG Schmidt from Jan. 2019.  Communications director (Dec. 2015-Jan. 2019) and press secretary (Nov. 2014-Dec. 2015) to U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-3).  Campaign manager on Yoder for Congress, Jan.-Nov. 2018.  Communications director on Yoder for Congress, June-Nov. 2016.  Deputy military legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, Sept. 2012-Nov. 2014.  Field coordinator on Yoder for Congress, May-Sept. 2012. J.D. from University of Kansas School of Law, 2012; B.S. in finance from The University of Kansas, 2009.  twitter


See also:
"2022 Kansas Post-Election Conference."  Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at The University of Kansas, Dec. 6, 2022.

"Political Ads."  Kansas Institute for Politics at Washburn University.
 
Tim Carpenter.  "After losing governor race, Kansas GOP wants to punish lawmakers who backed independent Pyle."  Kansas Reflector, Nov. 14, 2022.

Susan Wagle: "Democrats fund Dennis Pyle campaign to split conservatives."  The Wichita Eagle, Nov. 3, 2022. [Commentary]

Tim Carpenter.  "Kelly, Schmidt agree to take part in two debates, one forum in governor's races."  Kansas Reflector, Sept. 1, 2022.

Miranda Moore.  "Predicting the unpredictable: Was Kansas prepared for unprecedented voter turnout?"  The Kansas City Beacon, Aug. 23, 2022.

--.  "Gov. Kelly breaks with Biden in attempt to appeal to GOP voters."  AP, Dec. 23, 2021.

Tal Axelrod.  "Kansas' Democratic governor set for bruising reelection fight."  The Hill, June 20, 2021.

Kari Williams and John Hanna.  "Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announces intent to run for governor."  Associated Press, Mar. 9, 2021.

--.  "Spokeswoman: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to seek second term in 2020."  AP, Dec. 18, 2020.





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