I have met Kris Kobach only once. It was a number of years ago at a celebration in Topeka for the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express. Scheduling circumstances gave us about thirty minutes, just the two of us visiting. In that time, he came across as friendly, respectful, and with skills that would make him a good campaigner. I share that because for those of us clearly supporting Senator Kelly, we need to take Kobach very seriously. Yes, he has done some very crazy things, including voter suppression and anti immigration policies that are harmful to Kansas agriculture and our economy, but his supporters back him on both issues, giving him a solid voter.
I have known Greg Orman since the beginning of his campaign against Pat Roberts. As a person, I like and respect him. He has a record of business success and clearly wants an opportunity to serve the public. But to this point in the race, he has made little or no progress, confirming what I have believed all along: Kansas is not ready to get excited about an independent candidate running against both a Republican and Democratic nominee. In 2014, there was no Democrat on the ballot against Roberts. My biggest concern with Orman is his disdain for both political parties, and I wonder: how could he ever successfully work with a legislature filled with Republicans and Democrats? Then, of course, is his potential for being a spoiler, helping to elect Kobach by taking votes from Kelly.
Then there is Senator Laura Kelly, the most qualified candidate to lead our state the next four years and to correct the eight years of backward thinking and huge mistakes from Brownback and company. Having had a long and productive experience in the legislature, she knows the system, the legislators, and the issues—which puts her as Governor in a strong position to lead. Several years ago, how many I forget, Laura came to see me. She was looking at running for Governor then and wanted to visit. I remember leaving that discussion very impressed, and I still am.
Having laid out the choices Kansans have for our next Governor, I share this thought: Without a doubt, if this decision goes the wrong way, as in electing Kris Kobach, it will have a huge negative impact on our future. We could survive Greg Orman, but he is likely not going to win. Senator Laura Kelly has the skills and experience to lead us back to sanity, pull us together with a plan that most Kansans can support, and start restoring our image as a stable, sensible state that wisely invests in its future. The challenges the next four years bring are huge, but progress can be made with a Governor Kelly leading the way.