TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The focus is shifting to the general election after Kansas’ monumental vote on abortion rights in Tuesday’s primary.
Incumbent Governor Laura Kelly and Republican candidate Derek Schmidt will be facing off in November. However, on the heels of an unexpected landslide victory for abortion advocates in the state, both candidates are staying quiet.
Political Analyst Dr. Bob Beatty said it may be part of their strategy heading into the general election.
“Lately, in politics, we’ve gotten used to the politicians who seem to always be yelling and tweeting and making a lot of noise. But, sometimes the smart thing to do is to say nothing,” Beatty told Kansas Capitol Bureau on Thursday. “On the abortion issue, which is not as divisive as we thought… almost 60% going with the ‘no’ vote, but still, it’s a divisive issue. They’re going to stick to their branding, which is they’re middle of the road…they represent everybody.”
Gov. Kelly, who said she opposed the amendment, did not comment on the vote Thursday. Schmidt, who vocalized his support for the amendment, was also tight-lipped. However, spokespeople for their campaigns responded in an email to Kansas Capitol Bureau.
Madison Andrus, a spokeswoman for Kelly’s campaign, said that the vote shows that Kansans don’t want people “intervening” in their medical decisions.
“Tuesday’s vote shows that Kansans want their government focused on things like the economy and schools – and not intervening in private medical decisions,” Andrus said. “Now that voters have spoken clearly, Governor Kelly will remain focused on bringing both parties together to get results – a balanced budget, cutting taxes, fully funding schools and attracting new businesses to the state.”
CJ Grover, a campaign manager for Schmidt’s campaign, said that Kansas voters “have made their voices heard.”
“On Tuesday, Derek Schmidt earned the votes of 100,000 more Kansans than Governor Kelly, just as he did in 2018, because Kansans know our state can, and must, do so much better,” Grover said. “Kansas voters’ have made their voices heard on Value Them Both, and the fall campaign will focus on many other issues important to Kansans.”
The constitutional amendment prompted a record-high turnout for the primary election. Polls predicting the outcome of the vote showed a lead on the “vote yes” side, but an overwhelming amount of Kansas voters rejected the amendment when the vote was called Tuesday night.
Beatty said the thousands of unaffiliated voters, who were able to vote on the amendment in the Primary, could have played a significant role in the outcome of the vote.
“The big takeaways from this election is almost the revenge of the unaffiliated,” Beatty said. “Both campaigns, Derek Schmidt and Laura Kelly, are going to want to figure out how do we get those voters again in November.”