TOPEKA — Independent Greg Orman submitted signatures in support of his candidacy for Kansas governor on Monday, a few hours before the deadline to turn them in.
Orman said he turned in between 10,000 and 11,000 signatures. State law requires 5,000 to secure a spot on the November general election ballot as an independent.
Orman, a Johnson County businessman, delivered the signatures the day before the Republican and Democratic primary elections to determine the parties' nominees for governor.
The Kansas secretary of state's office will now review the signatures. A decision on whether Orman properly met the 5,000 threshold is not expected this week.
Orman paid $15,600 to a signature-gathering company in July. He said the campaign had relied primarily on volunteers to gather signatures, but had hired the firm as an "insurance policy" in case of a challenge to his candidacy.
Orman has been running for governor since January. Democrats largely oppose his campaign over fears that he will take away Democratic votes in the general election and make it easier for a Republican to win.
"I understand that both parties are reluctant to see competition. Both parties would like to avoid electoral accountability by preventing candidates who speak to the real needs of Kansans from getting on the ballot," Orman said.
Will Lawrence, chief of staff to Senate Democratic leader Anthony Hensley, said he plans to comb through Orman's petition for invalid signatures. Signatures must come from registered Kansas voters, and signature gatherers must be eligible to be registered to vote.
Lawrence left open the possibility that Democrats would object to Orman's candidacy.
If an objection is filed, an all-Republican panel of three state officials would decide whether to allow Orman on the ballot. The panel would include Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who himself is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
Orman said he is confident that he will be on the ballot.