Ex-Colyer chairman backing Orman in Kansas Governor’s race

Capitol Bureau

Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer’s former campaign chairman plans to become a campaign co-chairman for independent candidate Greg Orman instead of endorsing GOP nominee Kris Kobach.

Orman’s campaign announced Monday that former Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus will be its first campaign co-chairman.

“I’m a Republican as well, but I do not support the platform that Kris Kobach is running on. I don’t think he’s good for the state of Kansas in a lot of ways that I’m not going to go into. But I do think the platform that Greg Orman is running on is good for the state of Kansas, its forward thinking, its progressive, and its exactly what we need at this point in time,” Baccus said.  

Baccus is an Ottawa County farmer who served 12 years as Farm Bureau president before his retirement from the post in 2014. He said a major reason for his decision is Orman’s plans for Kansas farmers. 

 “Greg Orman understands the state of Kansas. He understands the business, and he understands how to create and grow businesses. Make no mistake about it, farming in today’s world is a business. If anyone farms and thinks it’s not a business they’re not going to farm for long,” Baccus said. 

Colyer endorsed Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, after Kobach won the GOP primary by 350 votes out of more than more than 317,000 cast. Colyer reiterated that endorsement Monday.

Kobach released the following statement Monday: 

“It’s no surprise that Topeka insiders are sticking together. Our campaign to fight special interests, bring good paying jobs to hard-working Kansans, and fix Topeka is not going to be popular with the special-interest crowd, and I’m okay with that.”

But Orman says he’s proud to have the backing of Steve Baccus and believes it shows conservative voters what his campaign had to offer.

“Kris operates in sort of a fact free zone. The fact of the matter is that Steve has been farming in Kansas for over 40 years. He’s a Kansan and a farmer first and foremost. Ultimately, I think what Steve is saying is sending a signal to all Republicans everywhere that the Orman-Doll campaign is a campaign that has something for you and you should vote for,” Orman said. 

The Farm Bureau had backed Colyer in the GOP primary.

Orman and the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, are wooing Republican voters alienated by Kobach’s in-your-face conservatism and advocacy of tough immigration policies.

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