4 of 6 Republican gubernatorial candidates face off during debate in Salina

Capitol Bureau

There are seven weeks until the primary election and the Governor’s race is heating up. 

Campaign signs lined the sidewalks outside the Salina Innovation Foundation Saturday, as Republican gubernatorial candidates took part in a debate. 

During the debate, fireworks flew between front-runners Governor Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Colyer questioned Kobach’s pro-life stance and pointed to recent court fines which could cost the state thousands of dollars. 

“What amazes me most, what really is remarkable, is the person who is standing there before us, wants you the taxpayers, he wants you to pay for his court fines,” Colyer told the crowd.

Kobach pushed back defending his pro-life stance and explained when he was younger he thought there were some exceptions, but said after the birth of his daughter he knew there were no exceptions. Kobach also said he always stands up for conservative values. 

“If you have a conservative out front, he will be attacked, and if he is moving the ball forward, he will be attacked even more. One thing about me, I will never shrink, I will push harder,” Kobach said. 

During the hour and a half debate, the other candidates on stage Patrick Kucera and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer focused on their message and laid out their platform for growing the state. 

“I want to get planes landing in Kansas and it will be a spark to the revival of revenue,” said Kucera.

“We need to lean in on costs just like we did in the insurance department, not indiscriminate across the board cuts, but thoughtful cuts everywhere,” said Selzer.

Several voters traveled to watch the debate. 

“Nothing I saw today changed me. I saw a couple other candidates and I liked the positive approach,” said Kobach supporter Scott Bonczkaski. 

Some voters, like Blake Beye, said the debate helped solidify their pick. 

“Colyer, just because I liked him a little better in this debate, but you never know, time will tell,” said Beye.

Out of the six candidates in the race, only four were allowed to participate since they signed the Republican Party’s debate agreement. 

Candidates Jim Barnett and teenager Tyler Ruizch showed up to watch. 

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