Friday morning Kansas political wrapup: What you may have missed but need to know


Good morning everyone:

Lots to cover this morning. Mike Pence is in town. Kris Kobach is generating more headlines. Paul Davis and Steve Watkins clash in a debate. And Laura Kelly wins another endorsement from a former Kansas governor. Let’s go around the horn:

Pence campaigns in Wichita

Vice President Mike Pence was in Wichita on Thursday to campaign for Republican Kris Kobach in his tight race against Democrat Laura Kelly for governor. It comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s visit to Topeka about two weeks ago. Pence says he was for Kris Kobach before it was cool. He also called Kobach one of the most effective secreraties of state in the country. We’ll leave you with the coverage from the Wichita Eagle, KAKE TV, KSN, and KFDI radio.

Watkins/Davis 2nd District debate

Congressional candidates Paul Davis and Steve Watkins went toe to toe in a televised debate for the 2nd Congressional District Thursday night in Topeka.

Davis, the Democrat, called Watkins integrity into question given the stories about him stretching the truth about his background. (Here’s his rebuttal to some of those claims).

Watkins, the Republican, cast Davis as a Nancy Pelosi liberal who wants to bring “mob rule” to Washington – a refrain that should sound familiar if you listened to the president’s speech when he was in Topeka.

There’s been limited public polling in the race although a survey done by the New York Times and Siena College showed Davis with a 1 percentage point lead.

Here’s the coverage from the Capital-Journal and WIBW. And if you want to take the time to judge the debate for yourself, here’s the whole thing for your viewing pleasure:

Kobach vs. ACLU 

Republican Kris Kobach is already battling Democrat Laura Kelly in a tight race for governor. Now, he’s in court less than three weeks before the election trying to keep a video deposition in his voting rights trial from being made public.

Kris Kobach

The video, where Kobach discusses private talks with President Donald Trump, was played earlier this year at the trial over Kobach’s proof-of-citizen requirements for registering to vote. The video was played at the trial, but has not been made public. The American Civil Liberties Union wants the video released. Kobach is a afraid that the video will be used against him.

Here’s the coverage from the Capital-Journal, the Lawrence Journal-World the Wichita Eagle and KSN TV in Topeka. For your reading pleasure, here are some of the court documents in the case, including the motion to make the video public and a supplemental brief filed by the ACLU in making it case for release of the tape.

And here’s the Kobach brief arguing that the effort to make the tape public is “nothing more than transparent attempt to disparage the defenandant during the last weeks of the gubernatorial campaign.”

Sharice Davids’ failed coffee company

New this morning, the Kansas City Star is reporting that Democratic congressional candidate Sharice Davids’ failed coffee company hasn’t made good on a judge’s order to repay $20,000 to investors.

Sharice Davids

A South Dakota judge ordered the Hoka Coffee company to repay investors for the coffee shop that she ran on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota where she worked as deputy director of a nonprofit that helped start businesses and build housing on the reservation.

For her part, Davids characterized the loan as “business loan” made to the coffee company and not her personally. She said nothing unusual occurred.

Hayden backs Kelly

Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly added another notch to her endorsement belt when former Gov. Mike Hayden joined the list of the many former Kansas politicians getting behind her in the governor’s race.

Mike Hayden

Kelly already enjoys support from former Govs. Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Graves and John Carlin.

“This is a critical year for the state of Kansas. No one can sit on the sidelines in this election. The stakes are too high,” Hayden said in a statement. “After much thought and analyzing this race and the candidates, I understand Greg Orman cannot win.

“While he may have something to offer the state of Kansas, this is not the year. This year, we must come together to support Laura Kelly.”

Former lawmaker passes away

Tom Slattery, a former member of the Kansas House and longtime executive director of the Associated General Contractors, died Wednesday. He was 78.

Slattery, who served three terms in the Kansas House, worked as research associate for the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce and served as education director for the Kansas division of the American Cancer Society. He retired as executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors in 2000.

Services are scheduled for Sunday with burial on Monday.