Former Colyer campaign chair backs Schmidt

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The former chairman of Jeff Colyer’s campaign for governor in 2018 is lining up behind Attorney General Derek Schmidt for governor in 2022 as the GOP primary escalates.

Steve Baccus, former president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, is calling Schmidt a “trusted leader” and someone “who understands our values and our way of life.”

“Our rural communities need someone in Topeka who will keep their priorities
at the forefront of his work, and I am confident Derek is the best person for the job,” Baccus said in a fundraising email.

Baccus is the third high-profile endorsement that Schmidt has won as he tries to line up Republican Party support against Colyer, the former governor who narrowly lost to Kris Kobach in the 2018 GOP primary.

Three years ago, Baccus endorsed independent Greg Orman in the general election for governor against Republican Kris Kobach and now Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

The Baccus endorsement reflects Schmidt’s theme of portraying himself as a winner, someone who won’t lose an election and has the best chance of beating Kelly next year.

“Over the years I have worked with some of our state’s strongest and most-
effective voices for rural Kansas – respected conservative leaders like Bob Dole, Pat
Roberts, Jerry Moran and of course Derek Schmidt.

“I will be the first to tell you that because of my many years of knowing and working with Derek, I know he is the proven WINNER that Kansas needs right here, right now.”

Schmidt has already been endorsed by National Republican Committeewoman Helen Van Etten and Mary Alice Lair, the first woman to chair the Kansas Republican Party.

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall has already endorsed Colyer.

Three years ago, Baccus broke party ranks and endorsed Orman and his running mate, moderate Republican state Sen. John Doll, in the governor’s race.

At that time after the primary, Baccus said Oman and Doll were the “most qualified leaders to grow the Kansas economy and lead our state.”

“Greg Orman knows how to create jobs, he’s done it throughout his entire career. Greg Orman is the only candidate running for governor who has created hundreds of jobs right here in Kansas,” Baccus said in 2018.

“Together, Greg Orman and John Doll represent all of Kansas and present the best partnership for the future of our great state.”

At that time, Colyer parted ways with Baccus, releasing a statement in response to his former campaign chairman’s endorsement of Orman.

“While Steve can certainly campaign for whoever he likes, I have made my support for Republican candidate Kris Kobach very clear and encourage all Republicans to rally around our nominee for governor,” Colyer said that time.