Greg Orman | KCUR

Greg Orman

file photo / Kansas News Service

Take a look at the Kansas budget and one item looms large, eating up more state spending than anything else.

Schools swallow about $4.5 billion. That spending rose after an infusion of cash by lawmakers earlier this year in response to a court ruling in a long-running fight over whether state government does enough to support public education.

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.

The five candidates for Kansas governor faced off at a forum Tuesday night in Wichita.

It was a rare opportunity for Independent Rick Kloos and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell to share a stage with the three major candidates — Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

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.

The Kansas economy has been sluggish the past few years, but the candidates running for governor each have a plan to jumpstart things.

Will any of them actually work?

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

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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Independent candidate discusses his race for Kansas governor. 

The fierce gubernatorial race between Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and Independent Greg Orman is heating up. Orman joined us in-studio to talk about his proposals for education, the economy and gun control. He also explained why he decided to run as an Independent in a two-party system, and if low polling numbers will lead him to drop out.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

The campaign season is upon us in Kansas. Candidates for governor are hitting the airwaves and the debate stages. Jim McLean, Madeline Fox, and Stephen Koranda of the Kansas News Service discuss this week’s developments. 


file photo / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated.)

Gov. Jeff Colyer lost a nail-biter Republican primary for governor to Secretary of Kris Kobach and quickly backed the man who beat him.

At least one key member of his campaign, however, moved on Monday to jump ship from the party’s nominee.

Colyer campaign chairman and longtime former Kansas Farm Bureau president Steve Baccus threw his support to independent candidate Greg Orman.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Independent candidate for Kansas governor Greg Orman will stay on the ballot after state officials rejected a challenge to his candidacy Thursday.

Will Lawrence, a staffer for the state Senate’s top Democrat, had questioned thousands of the signatures Orman used to secure a spot in the race, saying they weren’t collected properly or notarized correctly.

The State Objections Board disagreed. The panel ultimately removed a few hundred signatures because they were collected by a convicted felon.

Legal experts say independent candidate for governor Greg Orman faces at least a potential threat to lose his spot on the ballot in Kansas' general election.

An objection filed with the Kansas Secretary of State's office on Monday targets the signatures Orman gathered for ballot access. The letter was filed on behalf of William Lawrence, the chief of staff for Democratic state Senate Leader Anthony Hensley.

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

For an increasing number of voters, choosing between red and blue feels like no choice.

Elections in Kansas this year could serve as a proving ground for a fed-up electorate made up of folks who might be disgusted enough to form a new political party.

That possibility drives Scott Morgan to travel the state in search of converts to his Party of the Center, what he calls “a safe and sane alternative to the craziness” of the Republicans and Democrats.

Distinctively, candidates of the new party wouldn’t need to agree much with each other about the issues that typically distinguish Republicans from Democrats — just hold a common desire to break from the way politics works now.

Orman campaign

(An earlier version of this story mistakenly suggested Doll was removed from committees. He actually gave up those posts.)

State Sen. John Doll, a one-time Democrat, started the week as a Republican holding leadership posts on influential legislative committees.

Then he agreed to be a candidate for lieutenant governor running in the second spot on an independent ticket with Johnson County businessman Greg Orman.

Orman for Kansas

Independent candidate for governor Greg Orman picked a running mate Wednesday with middle-of-the-road credentials who balances the ticket geographically.

Orman’s choice is state Sen. John Doll. He’s a former mayor of Garden City who lost a bid for Congress in 2006 running as a Democrat. He later changed parties and won a seat in the Kansas House as a Republican.

Doll advanced to the Senate in 2016 by narrowly defeating conservative incumbent Larry Powell in the GOP primary before swamping Democrat A. Zacheria Worf in the general election.

file photo

Four years ago, Greg Orman made an independent and notable challenge to Republican U.S. Pat Roberts’ run for re-election.

Now the wealthy businessman has his sights set on the governor’s office, contending that voter frustration with the two-party system gives him a path to victory in November.

“What is clear to me is that voters want real alternatives,” Orman said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.

His bid for the governorship holds the potential to alter the dynamics of the general election.

File Photo / KCUR

Olathe businessman Greg Orman launched an independent campaign for governor Wednesday, ending months of speculation about his political plans.

Orman’s entry sets up a three-way contest that some say neither he nor the Democratic nominee can win.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Ed O’Malley came out swinging Tuesday at a campaign launch event in Overland Park.

The former Republican legislator from Johnson County, who for the last decade has served as president and CEO of the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center, swung for the policy fences by pledging that his primary goal as governor would be to make Kansas public schools the “best in the world.”

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts won re-election for his U.S. Senate seat in Kansas in 2014, but Greg Orman gave him a run for his money. Though Roberts ultimately won by 10 points, polls had Orman leading the Senate race in the final weeks — as an independent.

On KCUR’s Up To Date this week, Orman told host Steve Kraske his campaign proved independents can win in a place like Kansas. 

While Kansas had other high profile campaigns in 2014, the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas was so unusual that it attracted a lot of attention. Political staffers and experts weighed in Thursday on that and the governor’s race as part of a panel by the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.

WATCH: Greg Orman Concedes Kansas U.S. Senate Race

Nov 4, 2014

File Photo / KCUR

Incumbent Pat Roberts held on to his U.S. Senate seat Tuesday after besting Independent Greg Orman.

It was a surprisingly easy win for Roberts after a bruising battle to keep a place in Washington he's had for three decades.

Roberts made his victory speech at the Republican watch party in Topeka.

"We said for months the road to a Republican majority in the United States Senate lead through Kansas and we did it," said Roberts.

With all precincts reporting, Roberts beat Orman 53 percent to 43 percent.

Political Pundits: Midterm Election Blitz

Oct 31, 2014

There’s a chill in the air, and a forbidding wind is rustling through the trees. But which is scarier—the ghouls and ghosts of Halloween or the campaigning for the midterm election?

On Friday's Up to Date, the Political Pundits return to talk about the issues surrounding the close races in Kansas for secretary of state, governor and especially for the U.S. Senate, where a leadership change is a real possibility.

Plus, we have a look at the buzz surrounding the Missouri governor’s race of 2016. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Orman for Senate campaign headquarters is in a Shawnee, Kan., strip mall, next door to a Taekwondo studio and a few doors down from a Papa John’s pizza joint.

Among the posters, bumper stickers and general flotsam of a fall campaign, a college yearbook sits on a small table.

Peggy Lowe / File/KCUR

Former state Sen. Audrey Langworthy received the fundraising letter from Republican incumbent Pat Roberts last November.

Among other things, Roberts called for the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, then Health and Human Services Secretary, who was under fire for the botched roll-out of the Obamacare website.

Langworthy, a Republican who lives in Prairie Village, was so angry she started writing notes to Roberts, hand-written in black ink directly onto his letter.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The two candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat from Kansas spent Wednesday trading partisan barbs at their second debate.

Republican incumbent Pat Roberts tried to paint Greg Orman, who is running as an independent, as a Democrat in a race that doesn’t have one.

“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas and the country to Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” Roberts told the crowd at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Roberts called Orman a liberal more than a dozen times and repeatedly hammered him for his ties to Democrats.

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