WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Republicans who wanted Derek Schmidt to be the next governor of Kansas are disappointed that Governor Laura Kelly won the race. And some are blaming State Sen. Dennis Pyle, a former Republican who ran independently.

Pyle is one of the Kansas Legislature’s most conservative members. As a result, his critics were concerned that he would steal conservative votes from Schmidt. A lot of them believe that is why Schmidt lost.

But Pyle says that is a false assumption. In a statement early Wednesday afternoon, he said, “Derek Schmidt didn’t perform.”

Pyle pointed to the large numbers other Republicans, like Jerry Moran, Scott Schwab, Steven Johnson, and even Kris Kobach, got. They received anywhere from 28,000 to 120,000 more votes than Pyle.

“As much as Kansas desperately needed a conservative governor, the Republican party gave us a candidate that could not and did not win,” Pyle said. “The Pyle team sent a needed message to the Republican party, that Kansas needed a strong conservative candidate.”

He pointed to all the previous Republican leaders, including a senator and governors, who endorsed Kelly.

“I have said throughout that Schmidt couldn’t win based on the historical record of the left-wing Republicans,” Pyle said. “The GOP could have done better.”

He ended his statement with a cryptic comment:

All said, Schmidt got the anti-Kelly vote, period.
The left-wing endorsements for Kelly gave her the win.
Or, there was an issue with the voting machines?”

Sen. Dennis Pyle, Kansas