Many of you saw the debate with candidates for Kansas governor on KSN and here online Tuesday night.
KSN talked to our political expert who won the debate that included three leading candidates, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, State Senator Laura Kelly and Independent businessman Greg Orman.
“I saw all the candidates playing it very safe,” says Jeff Jarman, KSN political expert. “They were careful in their words, not too attacking, trying not to alienate those undecided voters seven days out who will decide this election.”
Jarman says there just was no clear winner. But he says they could all benefit from the debate depending on how much they get out to meet potential voters before next week.
And with Kelly and Kobach in a virtual tie in some of the most recent polls, Jarman says playing it safe was likely a calculated decision.
“I think they were both playing to win and playing not to lose,” says Jarman. “We saw them bring up core issues that would resonate with the base supporters while at the same time keeping a tone and demeanor that wouldn’t alienate undecided voters.”
And it’s the undecided voters that could make a difference, just like Independent candidate Greg Orman.
“The debate was largely a debate between Kobach and Kelly with Orman commenting occasionally,” said Jarman. “Orman struggled in the debate to draw clear distinctions. He had arguments but in the end lots of the issues came down to a Kobach vs Kelly administration and what they would bring in the future.”
Jarman says Orman and the other candidates still have a chance to pick up votes as they move throughout the state talking to voters.
“The good news for all of the candidates was no major gaffes,” says Jarman. “No major faux pas where all of a sudden someone does not look capable or credible of being the next governor of the state of Kansas. And from that standpoint, I think all three candidates would call it a win.”