On Tuesday Greg Orman’s treasurer Tim Owens resigned and endorsed Laura Kelly
Owens called for Kansans to untie behind Laura Kelly against Kris Kobach
In a statement Orman stated he was staying in the race
Democrats in Kansas have called for Orman to dropout of the race and endorse Kelly
Republicans have claimed losing voters to the Orman campaign as well
In Kansas, the governor race between Laura Kelly, Kris Kobach, and Greg Orman is being watched across the country. Republicans fear that Democrats may be able to flip the election and candidates such as Kelly, James Thompson, and Sharice Davids are not helping put those fears to rest.
Requests by Kansas Democrats has been growing for independent gubernatorial candidate Orman to drop out of the race and endorse Kelly to secure a victory over Kobach. After struggling through the Brownback administration, many are afraid of what could happen under Kobach.
On Tuesday, the requests for Orman to drop from the race hit home after his campaign treasurer Tim Owens resigned and endorsed Kelly. In a statement from Owens, the former Republican state senator called for people to unite behind Kelly against Kobach.
Effective today, I have resigned my position as treasurer for the Orman for Kansas campaign. It is time to unite behind Senator Laura Kelly and stop Kris Kobach.
I’ve been a friend and colleague to Greg Orman for several years. I supported his run for Senate in 2014 and I until today I supported his run for governor. However, this is a critical election for Kansas. We cannot risk the future of our state.
This decision was very difficult for me, but I have to put Kansas first.
Electing Kris Kobach governor is one of the worst things that could happen to our state. For those of us who lived and worked in the legislature through the dark Brownback years, we know just how damaging a return to those policies will be. And that is exactly what Kobach will do. The polarization he will bring to our state would be detrimental to the economic development of Kansas and damage our workforce.
I worked with Laura Kelly closely in the Senate. I know her to be a strong, independent leader who always puts the people of Kansas first. Laura is the only viable candidate for governor who can win and bring people together — regardless of political party — to move our state forward. It is time for all Kansans who value good schools, affordable healthcare, a growing economy, and common sense to unite and stand with Laura Kelly.
In a statement released by Orman, the candidate did not seem discouraged by Owens decision to resign. Orman said he is committed to tens of thousands of voters who have supported his campaign and are “sick and tired of the status-quo.”
I wish Tim well, but have told him that my campaign is about the people of Kansas, not about establishment figures in Topeka. As I’ve said since day one, I am committed to the tens-of-thousands of voters who support me and who are sick and tired of the status-quo.
We are seeing warning signs across the country that people are ready for a change from the classic two-party system that has been falling apart for quite some time. However, is that desire for change enough to put a third party candidate in office?
The realistic and straightforward answer to that question is probably not. In Kansas we are watching a large number of people say they are voting for Kelly either out of fear of Kobach or in support of the Democratic Party instead of the actual candidate. Basically the standard claim of “the lesser of two evils.” The stigma of a third party doing nothing more than feeding votes to the greater evil is one that is not going to go away anytime soon.
The majority of the polls show Orman staying at roughly 10% of the votes while Kelly and Kobach seem to be neck and neck. While these polls are most likely not flawed to the point of being skewed by a substantial number, there is still the question of what would happen if Orman did drop out of the race?
While campaigning for Kobach, Kansas Representative Daniel Hawkins claimed in his district he consistently heard Republicans say they are voting for Orman. While Kobach has had the blessing of Donald Trump Jr, Mike Pence, and even Donald Trump himself, his level of support has not been as strong in the State of Kansas.
In September, nearly 40% of Republicans in the Kansas Legislature would not say if they were supporting Kobach in the November elections. The Kansas Republican Party has been torn, to say the least, throughout the current midterm elections.
In August, Governor Jeff Coyler’s campaign chairman Steve Baccus became the co-chair of the Orman campaign. Baccus joined Orman’s campaign after Coyler lost the primary race to Kobach by less than 400 votes. While the main concern has been how many Democratic voters Orman would pull away from Kelly, Baccus’ announcement showed Orman’s ability to pull votes away from Republicans as well.
I made it clear when I joined Governor Colyer’s campaign that I believed Kansas needed a leader who was committed to the stat. While my candidate in the primary election did not succeed, I remain committed to ensuring that Kansas has the best leaders possible.