Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt pressed forward with his campaign for governor Tuesday, nailing down more Republican support after Jeff Colyer’s surprise announcement that he was withdrawing from the race.
Schmidt on Tuesday secured the endorsement of House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, one of the few legislative leaders not to engage in the campaign, partly because of the tightrope he has to walk as a leader in the Kansas House.
“During my time in the Legislature, Derek Schmidt has consistently led the charge in fighting for Kansas values and individual liberties,” Hawkins said in a statement.
“Whether it was standing up to the overreach of the Obama administration at the United States Supreme Court or working with the Kansas Legislature to hold Gov. Kelly accountable…Derek has been the leader we’ve needed.”
The attorney general also secured the support of Congressman Tracey Mann, who supported Colyer after serving as his lieutenant governor.
He also reeled in support from Republican Congressmen Jake LaTurner and Ron Estes, both of whom hadn’t already endorsed in the race.
LaTurner was in somewhat of a dilemma before Colyer withdrew.
LaTurner’s from southeast Kansas where Schmidt is from, although he received Colyer’s support to bow out of the U.S. Senate race and run for Congress instead in 2020.
The endorsements continue to give Schmidt a campaign presence after Colyer’s sudden withdrawal and fence off the possibility that another candidate with deep pockets might enter the race.
At one point, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman had expressed an interest in running, but he’s done nothing evident in recent months – aside from social media commentary – to indicate he might launch a campaign.
“Kansans have suffered enough under Laura Kelly’s failed leadership. Lockdowns, mandatory school closings, and gross mismanagement are the hallmark of her governorship, and it is time for her tenure to come to an end,” the Republican congressional delegation said in a joint statement
“The Sunflower State needs Derek Schmidt – a proven leader who has successfully fought for Kansas values in court and held liberal administrations in Washington accountable for their gross overreach.”