Secretary of State Kris Kobach will announce his candidacy for Governor in upcoming weeks.
Word on the street is Kobach was weighing potential opportunities within the Trump administration, but the Secretary has reached a decision. He will throw his hat into the ring for Kansas Governor in 2018.
Kobach is likely to enter a crowded Republican primary.
Wichita businessman Wink Hartman announced his candidacy several weeks ago. Ed O'Malley--some guy from somewhere who once did something--is on a listening tour. O'Malley created an exploratory committee several months ago, though he hasn't officially announced his intentions.
Meanwhile, I think we can call this slobbery, cheerleading Steve Kraske column evidence that Congressman Kevin Yoder is eyeballing the race. (BTW, that column was so CLEARLY a plant by the Yoder team. Nice get guys, but kind of transparent.)
Others rumored to be considering runs on the Republican side: Senate President Susan Wagle will run if she can ram through the legislation that makes campaign accounts portable. Garrett Love will be her running mate. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it once more: I don't know how anyone wins a statewide election after systematically stabbing every possible constituency in the back. Mods call her a conservative. Conservatives believe otherwise. I don't know how you win a Kansas Republican primary in that situation, but hope springs eternal.
Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer may be running as an incumbent if and when Gov. Brownback departs for Rome. My sources tell me an announcement about the Governor's plans are premature. I think that means Brownback leaves, and the only thing being negotiated at this point is the timing. If I had to guess, Brownback wants to stay until the end of this session.
I still think there's a chance that Colyer could end up working for the Trump administration in some capacity, and I think there's a slim possibility he could choose to run for the Third District seat should Yoder decide to run for Governor. Colyer will really show his hand if and when he chooses a Lt. Governor to replace himself. If he chooses someone like Tim Shallenburger, a seasoned politician, we can infer Colyer isn't going to run for Governor. Shallenburger currently serves as Brownback's legislative director. He unsuccessfully ran against Kathleen Sebelius and lost, probably because of that mustache. If Colyer chooses someone with political capital from the Big First Congressional District, he's running for Governor.
On the Democratic side, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer is running for Governor. There may be others who run. Paul Davis, the former gubernatorial candidate, is rumored to be considering a run.
The Democratic bench is pretty shallow, but that doesn't mean the winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary isn't in for a tough fight. The Dems will throw everything at the top of the ticket, and history suggests Kansas voters are a squishy lot.