The 2010 Reform Party nominee for Kansas governor filed paperwork Monday to be an official write-in candidate for governor to vent frustration with front runners Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly.
Mulvane resident Ken Cannon, who received 15,300 votes eight years ago in the four-person contest won by GOP nominee Sam Brownback in a landslide, said he had been conducting an “underground” campaign for governor for several months. He concealed his interest from the general public to avoid finger pointing and character attacks.
“I really do not like where Kris Kobach stands on a number of issues. And, I don’t think Kelly can win,” said Cannon, a retired educator. “I’m a little Republican and I’m a little Democrat.”
The election Nov. 6, in terms of recent polling, indicated Kelly and Kobach were tied at about 40 percent each. Independent candidate Greg Orman lagged at 10 percent. Others on the ballot are Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail, the Republican Governor’s Association introduced a commercial that described Kobach as someone who would “hold the line on taxes,” which conflicts with the GOP candidate’s promise to reduce sales, income and property taxes if elected governor. The ad also says Kobach would invest more state tax dollars in public school classrooms, which the GOP nominee has pledged to do.
“Kansas needs a leader who will invest in education without raising taxes -- not a liberal who would be a tax-hiking disaster,” said David Weinman, a spokesman for the GOP organization.
The Democratic Governors Association released a video highlighting the dozens of Kansas Republicans who endorsed Kelly, including former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and former Republican Govs. Mike Hayden and Bill Graves and Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin.
The only living ex-governor of Kansas not to endorse the Democratic Party’s nominee was Brownback, who stepped down in early 2018 to work in the administration of President Donald Trump.
“In this era of partisan divides, the one thing that can unite all Kansans is opposing Kris Kobach,” said Jared Leopold,the Democratic organization’s spokesman. “Republicans and Democrats alike want to end the Brownback tax experiment and reinvest in Kansas’ schools, while Kris Kobach is trying to become Sam Brownback 2.0.”