TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Republican Party has tried to undercut a state lawmaker’s independent candidacy for governor.

It sent texts Thursday to people who signed state Sen. Dennis Pyle’s petitions for the November ballot to urge them to remove their names.

The texts told the signers that their names are on petitions to help Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly win reelection.

Pyle has clashed with GOP leaders and was a Republican until June. He called the text message “a blatant lie.”

Pyle submitted petitions with nearly 8,900 signatures to the Kansas secretary of state’s office on Monday but needed 5,000. State law gave signers until midnight Thursday to reconsider.