First woman to chair Kansas GOP backs Schmidt

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Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt is building more momentum behind his bid for governor, this time with the endorsement of the first woman to chair the Republican Party of Kansas.

Mary Alice Lair, elected chair of the state GOP in 1982 who served as Republican National Committeewoman from 1988 to 2000, has come out in support of Schmidt in his campaign for governor.

“As a lifelong Kansan and Republican, it’s important to me that we have a governor who understands our state’s values,” Lair said in an email.

“While Joe Biden and the national Democrats want to keep our states locked down and our businesses closed, we need a proven fighter who will stand up to the Far Left and defend our state from their radical policies.”

It’s the second endorsement Schmidt has received from within the party since announcing his candidacy.

Last month, Helen Van Etten, former National Republican committeewoman for three terms, endorsed Schmidt in the governor’s race.

Van Etten’s endorsement was seen as significant because she had been a state leader within the party for a long time and had been a supporter of former Gov. Sam Brownback.

So far, Schmidt’s campaign has been more active, although former Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer was the first to signal he planned to run again for governor.

Colyer has already announced he was appointing a treasurer but since then has largely been quiet while Schmidt has been announcing endorsements and has been active backing legislation at the Capitol this session.

“Colyer really hasn’t made much of a splash,” said one Republican activist speaking anonynmously to be candid.

“I wonder how many people even wonder if Colyer’s running,” the source said.

“He says he’s running. I think he needs to show himself more if he’s really convincing people he’s running.”