UPDATED: Johnson gains support from more than 40 lawmakers

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Rep. Steven Johnson, the lead House tax negotiator, discussed Senate offer Tuesday night.

(Updated to include comments from Lee)

Republican state Rep. Steven Johnson on Thursday revealed support from about a quarter of the Kansas Legislature in his bid for Kansas treasurer.

The six-term lawmaker from Assaria announced that he had endorsements from 42 members of the Kansas Legislature, a list that started at 44 until two lawmakers asked to be removed.

Campaign spokesman J.R. Claeys – one of the lawmakers endorsing Johnson – said Rep. Tatum Lee of Ness City and Sen. Alicia Straub of Ellinwood asked to be removed from the list.

Straub appears in a video expressing her support for Johnson and Lee signed an endorsement for Johnson.

Lee provided a copy of a text sent to Johnson at 2:36 p.m. Thursday asking to be removed from the list of endorsements that were sent out in an email blast at 9 a.m.

“I just got word that my name was published on your endorsement list.

“Though I will gladly support you should you make it to the general, I do not wish to support any candidate publicly in the primary.

“Please remove my name from your list.”

In an interview, Lee said she made a mistake by signing the endorsement sheet.

“I should have never endorsed a candidate in a primary. I should have waited to the general. I’ve never done this before,” she said.

Straub could not be reached for comment by email on Thursday.

Johnson is running for the Republican nomination for treasurer against Michael Austin, a former economic adviser to former Gov. Sam Brownback.

Republican state Sen. Caryn Tyson of Parker, who ran for Congress in 2018 in the Kansas 2nd District, is widely expected to join the race.

Former Republican congressional candidate Sara Hart Weir also has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

The Democratic incumbent, Lynn Rogers, is seeking a full four-year term after he was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to replace Jake LaTurner after he was elected to Congress.

Johnson, 55, was first elected to the Kansas House representing House District 108 in 2010.

He’s been involved in a number of financial issues in the Kansas Legislature as former chairman of  the House tax committee and now chairman of the Insurance and Pensions Committee.

He’s been an opponent of restructuring state payments into the state retirement system during former Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration and Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration as well.

A farmer with a background in financial services, Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University and a master’s in finance and business policy from the University of Chicago.

Lawmakers endorsing Johnson are:

Rep. John Barker, Abilene
Rep. Stephen Owens, Hesston
Rep. Kristey Williams, Augusta
Rep. Megan Lynn, Olathe
Rep. Troy Waymaster, Bunker Hill
Rep. Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater
Rep. Les Mason, McPherson
Rep. Will Carpenter, El Dorado
Rep. Adam Thomas, Olathe
Rep. Steven Howe, Salina
Rep. Joe Newland, Neodesha
Rep. Marty Long, Ulysses
Rep. Leo Delperdang, Wichita
Rep. Doug Blex, Independence
Rep. Brian Bergkamp, Wichita
Rep. Carl Turner, Leawood
Rep. Cheryl Helmer, Mulvane
Rep. Joe Seiwert, Pretty Prairie
Rep. John Resman, Olathe
Rep. Sean Tarwater, Stilwell
Sen. Rick Wilborn, McPherson
Rep. Richard Proehl, Parsons
Rep. Jim Kelly, Independence
Rep. John Eplee, Atchison
Rep. Susan Concannon, Beloit
Rep. Ken Rahjes, Agra
Rep. Nick Hoheisel, Wichita
Rep. Shannon Francis, Liberal
Rep. Suzi Carlson, Clay Center
Rep. John Wheeler, Garden City
Rep. Dave Baker, Council Grove
Sen. Rob Olson, Olathe
Rep. Russ Jennings, Lakin
Rep. Clarke Sanders, Salina
Rep. Jim Minnix, Scott City
Rep. Mike Dodson, Manhattan
Rep. Lonnie Clark, Junction City
Rep. Kent Thompson, Iola
Rep. Brad Ralph, Dodge City
Rep. Fred Patton, Topeka
Rep. Tory Marie Arnberger, Great Bend