The race to decide the Republican party nominee for the gubernatorial race in Kansas has officially come to an end with Kris Kobach taking the win over the incumbent Jeff Colyer.
The primary election’s results had Kobach and Colyer close in the polls. Kobach received 127,211 votes, while Colyer received 127,101 votes, and trailing behind was Jim Barnett, receiving only 27,674 votes. With these vote counts, the two candidates were only within a hundredth of a percent of each other. Kansas does not have any laws requiring a recount with close elections and is up to parties involved in the election to call for a recount.
“We have to look towards the future of the state and for the best course of action for each person,” said Kaden Wimmer, junior in strategic communication, who worked as a communication intern for Colyer this summer. Wimmer worked personally with the governor to help spread the word about his re-election campaign.
“It was a very positive experience because I got a rare glimpse to see how a campaign works,” Wimmer said. “The truly most amazing part about it was how great a man Governor Colyer is.”
As part of his internship for the governor, Wimmer had the opportunity to meet and work with professionals in the field of politics, including communications director Kendall Marr and businessman Warren Buffett.
The close race did not only affect Republicans but also had an effect on the other side of the aisle. Democratic candidate Laura Kelly received her party’s nomination in the race and shall stand up against Kobach and Independent candidate Greg Orman in Kansas’ midterm elections in November.
“It’s as if the Republicans are handing us buckets and buckets of free money,” Chris Reeves, Democratic national committeeman, told the Wichita Eagle in reference to the close and sometimes aggressive race that took place between Kobach and Colyer.
During the Democratic primaries, Kelly received a majority 51 percent of the casted votes. Kelly, a long-time public servant, has received a generally positive reception from Kansas democrats. The Kansas City Star endorsed her as “deceptively tough” and “focused on the right priorities for Kansas.”
“People are excited about Laura and her vision to get this state back on track,” Johanna Warshaw, spokeswoman for the Kelly campaign, told the Topeka Captial-Journal. “It’s clear Kansans are looking for an experienced governor focused on reversing the effects of the failed Brownback experiment and properly funding our schools again.”
Kelly is a staunch critic of the controversial Brownback era in Kansas, rallying against the administration’s treatment of the foster care system, which caused more than 70 million children to become lost from public records.
The concession by Colyer endorsed Kobach as the nominee for governor.
“We will make sure the next governor is fully prepared, and I hope it is a Republican governor,” said Colyer.
After initially preparing for a recount, Colyer’s election team determined it would be “mathematically impossible” for him to win the election with the confirmed numbers.