Scott Canon | KCUR

Scott Canon

Digital Editor, Kansas News Service

Scott Canon is digital editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. He started working for KCUR in January 2018.

Canon spent most of his career as a newspaper reporter, working in Illinois and California before landing in the newsroom of The Kansas City Star. At The Star, he covered mostly regional and national stories. As an editor at the newspaper, he oversaw political coverage. He also fielded a handful of overseas assignments to both very hot and very cold places.

Ways to Connect

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

You’re rubber ...

Democrat Laura Kelly called baloney on Republican Kris Kobach when he said Kansas can save $377 million a year by denying services and benefits to immigrants in the country illegally. Kobach said there’s no reason an 18-year-old should be forced to get a permit for a concealed weapon. Independent Greg Orman said the state actually needs to impose tighter control on guns. And Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos were happy to be on stage with the frontrunners.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

High-stakes low-profile

Democrat and political newcomer Sharice Davids is leading in multiple polls and recent fundraising in her bid to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Not so much in public appearances.

KCUR’s Sam Zeff explores her apparent lay-low strategy to win in a district that covers the Kansas side of the Kansas City area.

Schooling you on the candidates

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Trumpbach

President Donald Trump came to Topeka Saturday and did what he usually does: Told a thrilled room of supporters how well he’s doing as president.

He also stumped for fellow Republican Kris Kobach in the governor’s race and for Steve Watkins in an eastern Kansas congressional race.

Kobach has said before, and repeated Saturday in Topeka, that he wants to do for Kansas what the president has done for Washington. That, essentially, is the choice in the race between him and Democrat Laura Kelly.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Fresh off a victory that cemented his latest, controversial, pick for the nation’s high court, President Donald Trump came to Kansas Saturday night hoping to transfer his popularity in the state to two fellow Republicans.

Trump arrived just hours after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — the most controversial appointment to the court in generations. He was in regular rally form, playing to an adoring crowd of some 10,000 thrilled supporters at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

The price of compliments

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t even running for re-election this year. And he’s from Kansas. Yet he’s become a talking point in one of the most pivotal contests in this mid-term election year.

It seems that Roberts once said the following: “If you want to pick somebody to work in a bipartisan manner and get something done … you ask Claire McCaskill because she does get the job done.”

McCaskill is a Democrat, running for re-election in Republican-dominated Missouri. So those words, from that guy, are campaign gold.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Boondocks broadband

How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm if they can’t stream Netflix?

The Federal Communications Commission sent seven grants to Kansas totaling $4.7 million to expand  rural access to broadband internet.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

We hardly knew ye

Well, we do know Steve Watkins is a veteran.

But much of the rest of the biography he’s touted in his race for Congress has come under question.

Last week, The Kansas City Star tore down his claims of building a tiny business into something massive.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Hope and change the seat to blue

Former President Barack Obama continues to roll out scores of endorsements in this year’s mid-term congressional elections, hoping to stick his successor with more Democratic resistance on Capitol Hill.

Sharice Davids is among the more than 300 candidates, all Democrats, Obama has backed.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Not quite all in

The Beltway-focused newspaper The Hill is now reporting that the National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled more than $1 million it had planned to spend on U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder’s re-election.

Yoder isn’t entirely abandoned by the party. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC has been buying heavily in the race to bash Yoder’s Democratic opponent, Sharice Davids.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

MKGA

On the eve of the Kansas Republican primary for governor, President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Little more than a week later, when Kobach could finally claim victory, he stood at the foot of the state Capitol and promised to do for Topeka what Trump’s done for Washington. Trump, he promised, was coming to campaign for him.

This week, that campaign promise looks pretty strong.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Who built it?

Steve Watkins emerged on the Kansas political scene this year as a relative unknown, but with a resume that political consultants could work with. West Point. Army Ranger. Combat patrols on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mountain climber. Degrees from MIT and Harvard. Started his own business and grew it to nearly 500 employees.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Sounds like …

Parents of dyslexic children have long pitched for a dramatic change to reading instruction and the extra teaching help needed to accommodate brains wired a little differently.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen weighs in this week with a story about how they’re on the verge of a breakthrough in Kansas that could bring more phonics-grounded reading instruction for all kids.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Big Brother lawsuit in Leavenworth goes class action

What a client, even one in jail, tells an attorney is private. 

Except that at the Leavenworth Detention Center a growing number of lawyers contend that private prison company CoreCivic and its phone and recording contractor, Securus Technologies, broke the law by intercepting those conversations.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Who’s in 1st in the 3rd?

The New York Times’ “live” poll of Kansas 3rd Congressional District shows incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder possibly trailing Democrat and lawyer Sharice Davids by eight points. The sample is relatively small -- fewer than 500 respondents.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Bacon hunting

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is making a pitch to bring more federal paychecks to Kansas. The state already scored a win in landing the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, for Manhattan (presuming you’re confident that the nasty germs studied and stored inside that bunker will stay inside that bunker).

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

A more fair court system

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 triggered weeks of  sometimes-violent protests. It became yet another polarizing incident over force used by law enforcement on young black men. (This week the country is watching a similar case play out in the dashcam-captured fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. A cop charged in that case is on trial now.)

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Campaigning for business

The candidates for governor (let’s avoid “gubernatorial,” on principle) trotted to Wichita Tuesday night to sit for a Kansas Chamber forum and talk about issues relating to the business-happy outlook the group represents.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach promised to cut taxes to the levels of the early Brownback years and roll back regulations. Yes, he is, as he calls himself, a “full-throttled conservative.”

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

And a quarter-century later …

In 1991, Anita Hill’s testimony that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her nearly stopped him from taking a seat on the nation’s highest court.

Now a California professor has come forward contending that current U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school. Both are tentatively set to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee next week — perhaps interrupting Kavanaugh’s glide path to confirmation.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

(This is a digest of news from across the state.)

Sedgwick Deputy Killed

A call to the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department early Sunday afternoon about a “suspicious character” in a small town 10 miles west of Wichita ended with Deputy Robert Kunze and a 29-year-old man both shot dead.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

His last real prospects of winning the Republican nomination for the office he holds slipping away one county canvass after the next, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the primary race to Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday night.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated to reflect new developments.)

On Wednesday, the contenders in the Republican race for governor pledged to back the ultimate winner and to make sure their photo-finish primary wouldn’t stall any general election campaign push.

Come Thursday, incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer made clear that he thought his opponent and state election overseer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was exactly the wrong guy to be certifying the results.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The moment that figured to clarify the Kansas race for governor instead left it muddled.

Sure, state Sen. Laura Kelly ended up running away with the Democratic primary on Tuesday. And independent candidate Greg Orman had been waiting in the wings for months.

But the still oh-so-close Republican race between incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach tangled the race in the unknown. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The Republican race for governor looks destined for a recount.

Out of more than 300,000 votes cast in the GOP race, unofficial final results showed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tallying 191 more votes than incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.

The winner will face state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, who locked down the Democractic nomination with a convincing win on Tuesday. They will likely be joined by independent candidate Greg Orman.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Now it starts to get real. Tuesday’s primary, and the early voting that wraps up at noon on Monday, could begin to clarify what direction Kansas politics will head after the Sam Brownback era. To the right, to the left or anchored in the middle.

Screenshot

Tooling through parades in a flag-themed Jeep with a faux machine gun mounted on the back apparently wasn’t enough for Secretary of State Kris Kobach to win over the National Rifle Association in the Kansas governor’s race

The country’s largest and most influential gun lobby on Monday instead endorsed Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer in his Republican primary. That left Kobach claiming that he still has the backing of grassroots gun rights voters.

The NRA said its endorsement reflected Colyer’s “strong support for the Second Amendment and the hunting heritage of Kansas.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A revival of rural Kansas can come from drawing businesses and housing to the centers of small cities and by building better highways, gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly said Monday.

In a plan she says could invigorate rural areas, the Democrat also calls for propping up small grocery stores, expanding Medicaid coverage, reopening state offices closed in recent years and fixing deteriorating housing in those areas.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says President Donald Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Joining six other Republican governors, Colyer signed a letter this week that said the president should get the honor for “his transformative efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula.”

The letter, dated Monday, was sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The same panel gave Barack Obama the peace prize just nine months into his presidency in 2009 for what it saw as his contribution to international diplomacy.

file photo / Kansas News Service

In an election year with a state Supreme Court ruling hanging over their heads, Kansas lawmakers wrestled over school spending, taxes and guns.

They fought among themselves and often split ways from legislators they’d chosen as leaders.

In the end, they decided not to throw a tax cut to voters. It would have partly reversed tough political choices they made a year before to salvage state government’s troubled financial ledger.

file photo / KCUR

Schlitterbahn, the amusement park under indictment over the 2016 death of a lawmaker’s son on its signature waterslide, now finds itself subject to a full state audit.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Labor said Wednesday the audit is set to take place before the park’s scheduled opening for the summer season on May 25.

Ron Waddington/Flickr CC

As the nation watches a burgeoning children’s movement for gun control spring from Florida after last week’s mass killing, the odds of Kansas and Missouri rewriting their rules for firearms this year look slim.

Few parts of the country welcome guns, carried openly or tucked out of sight, as much as Kansas and Missouri.