Kansas Governor’s race heads into final month

The upcoming election for governor of Kansas will take place on Nov. 6 and the candidates, Kris Kobach, Greg Orman and Laura Kelly, are preparing for the big day by hosting interviews, having debates with each other on television and by ramping up their advertisements for their respective campaigns. Each candidate brings something different to Kansas in the form of his or her policies and political beliefs that are affected by their upbringing and their ties to Kansas. At present, the race appears to be closely tied between Laura Kelly and Kris Kobach while Greg Orman comes in last. The differences between the candidate’s ideologies and political beliefs are stark enough that whoever becomes the new governor will face great challenges in bringing Kansas together in the coming months following the election.

The first candidate, Kris Kobach, is the republican candidate for the position as governor of Kansas. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin on March 26 in 1966 and his family moved to Topeka when Kobach was 7. Kobach is a graduate of Washburn Rural High school and a later graduate of Harvard University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in government with high honors. Before his run for governor, he served as the Secretary of the State of Kansas and became known for his tough views on immigration and investigations into voter-fraud following the 2016 presidential election. According to the Remington poll, Kobach stands at a 41 percent popularity rating among voters.

The second candidate, Laura Kelly, is the democratic candidate for the position of governor for Kansas. She was born in New York City on Jan. 24 to a family that was heavily involved with the military and thus moved frequently. She studied at Bradley University, Illinois, and at Indiana University where she earned a BS in psychology and an MS in therapeutic recreation respectively. Prior to her run for governor, Kelly served as the executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association and has based her run for governor on promises to reverse or eliminate many of the decisions and policies of Brownback’s governorship. According to the Remington poll, Kelly stands at a 42 percent approval rating among voters in Kansas.

The third candidate, Greg Orman, is the independent candidate for the position of governor in Kansas. He was born in Mankato, Minnesota, on Dec. 2, 1968 and is the child of a democrat and a republican. Orman attended and graduated from Princeton University with a degree in economics and briefly worked for George H. W. Bush’s presidential run in 1988. Orman has donated to both the democratic and republican parties in the past and has been affiliated with both over the past couple decades but recently decided to become an independent. Orman has strong opinions on topics such as an affirmation for background checks on gun owners, support for campaign financing reform and man-made climate change amongst other topics. According to the Remington poll, Orman stands at a 10 percent approval rating among voters in Kansas.

The remaining percentages of voters are unaffiliated or voting for the libertarian candidate for the office of governor: Jeff Caldwell.

The majority of voters are for either Laura Kelly or Kris Kobach. Overall, voters will have to decide whether they will return to Brownback-era policies when they vote for Kobach, or an attempt at a more democratic political leaning for Kansas. Kansas’ voters are largely split along congressional districts in Kansas with the first and the fourth congressional districts more right-leaning in western and southern Kansas and the second and third congressional districts in northeast Kansas more left-leaning.

According to Bob Beatty, this upcoming race will be a decisive decision for Kansas’ future that will largely rely on how the candidates rally their supporters before the election.

“The Kansas governor’s race looks to be a tale of two Kansas’, and who wins will likely be the one who figures out how best to get their supporters in their two key geographical regions out to vote on Nov. 6,” said Beatty.

As the race begins to draw to a close Kansans will have to make an important decision about the state’s future. A return to Brownback era policies with stricter regulations on immigration and voting or a reversal of many of Brownback’s policies and an increased emphasis on social services and welfare. Support among the independents for Orman or Caldwell is not nearly strong enough to upset Kelly’s or Kobach’s strong leads in the race for governor yet their ideas of lowering taxes and legalizing marijuana have clearly pulled together a small group of supporters that believe in their policies. Whatever the case, there will be an exciting and interesting election in the coming days that will decide the course of Kansas’ future for the next four years.