TOPEKA — Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer officially joined a growing field of Republican candidates running for governor and said Monday he would make a formal announcement later this month.
Selzer, a Leawood Republican and certified public accountant, made his intentions official Friday by filing an appointment of treasurer form, which allows him to start raising and spending money in the race. He said in a phone interview Monday he was building the campaign organization and would be focused on raising money in the coming weeks. He said he likely would announce campaign priorities later this month with his formal announcement.
“We have an excellent track record and look forward to talking about fiscal responsibility,” Selzer said. “I am a CPA, and we’ll continue to talk about what we can bring to the state of Kansas from an efficiency standpoint.”
Selzer joins a growing number of Republicans vying for the state’s executive office, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former state Sen. Jim Barnett and Wichita businessman Wink Hartman.
Kansas GOP Executive Director Clay Barker said last month that Selzer had spoken to members of the state party about running, but he hadn’t filed paperwork at the time. Selzer said last month he started considering a gubernatorial run when U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, announced she would retire from politics and former U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, took a job in the Trump administration.
Selzer said last month he thought he could bring a “common sense” approach to keeping government costs low, though he couldn’t yet say where government spending might be cut. He said his insurance department had been able to reduce its staffing by approximately 15 percent through attrition.
The Kansas Legislature in June overrode Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill partially rolling back his signature income tax cuts to plug persistent budget holes and boost state spending in some areas.
Kobach said in a statement that Selzer entering the race would not change his campaign strategy.
“I will continue to focus on cutting Kansas’ high tax rates and on fighting the culture of corruption in Topeka,” Kobach said.
In a statement, Barnett said he welcomed Selzer’s entrance into the governor’s race and he thought voters would pick the best candidate.
“I believe they are looking for someone that offers realistic answers for funding our schools, highways, KPERS and keeping our hospitals open,” Barnett said.