TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Derek Schmidt appears to have reluctantly conceded the governor’s race to Laura Kelly.

The current Kansas attorney general who ran against Kelly for the governor’s seat released a statement on Wednesday in which he congratulated the governor for her “apparent reelection and wish the best for our beloved state during the next four years.”

Schmidt did acknowledge that despite the remaining mail-in and provisional ballots, it is unlikely they will provide enough votes to change the outcome in his favor. “So absent any unexpected development it appears this race is over,” says Schmidt.

Schmidt says it was an honor to be the Republican nominee for governor. He thanked his family, supporters, and his running mate Katie Sawyer. He also says he laments what he calls the “concerning tendency of modern political discourse to veer away from discussing the great public issues we must solve together.”

Schmidt’s full statement:

Preliminary election-night vote totals are in from all counties. The election, of course, is not final until every lawful ballot is counted, and we are advised by election officials that thousands remain uncounted including late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots. However, it seems unlikely those will be sufficient to close the remaining gap, so absent any unexpected development it appears this race is over.

“Therefore, I congratulate Governor Kelly on her apparent reelection and wish the best for our beloved state during the next four years.

“It has been a tremendous honor to be the nominee of the Republican Party for governor of Kansas. I am grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement of my family, particularly my wife, Jennifer, and our daughters, Caroline and Claire; of my running mate, Katie Sawyer, and her family; of our many friends and supporters and volunteers throughout our state; of our extraordinary campaign team and staff; of the talented men and women at the Office of the Attorney General who ensured the professional work of that office continued uninterrupted; and of all who made this race possible. This journey has truly been a blessing, and for that I will always be thankful.

“If there is any disappointment beyond the immediate sting, it is having witnessed up close the concerning tendency of modern political discourse to veer away from discussing the great public issues we must solve together. In Kansas, those include the continued long-term outmigration of our population both young and old, the effective management of our precious water resource, an excessive state and local tax burden, outdated or archaic structures or methods of delivering public services, a public education system that needs more than money to better serve our children, and the alarming structural imbalance that persists in our state’s budget despite being masked for now by the temporary proceeds of inflation.

“Over the course of this campaign, I had the great pleasure to talk with thousands of my fellow Kansans one-on-one and face-to-face. I know their desire to solve these and other difficult problems is sincere and lasting — and I will continue to be among those who want to make our state better, despite the gravitational pull of modern politics and mass communication having largely obscured so much of that discussion.

“Still, despite all our challenges and frustrations, we live in an extraordinary state and nation where an ordinary kid from Independence, Kansas, can grow up to carry the banner of one of America’s great political parties in a campaign to govern the state he loves. That alone is a victory, and it is one I hope we can all share. Thank you, Kansas, for this opportunity.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt