Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): A Pair of Brewing Bromances in Kansas Governor's Race?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Pair of Brewing Bromances in Kansas Governor's Race?

Heading into the Kansas Republican gubernatorial debate, I was worried the candidates were going to take off the gloves and start slapping one another in the face. Instead, the audience was treated to a pair of brewing bromances.

Word on the street is a few of these candidates might be swiping right and creating teams.

Here's what I've heard: Wink Hartman is set to suspend his campaign, maybe as early as this week, but he may not be out of politics all together once he does.

Meanwhile, Kobach is going to be looking for a number two to share his ticket. The unicorn, Republican lieutenant governor partner is a woman from the Big First Congressional District with elected experience, ag street cred, and a (conservative) voting record. That person is a myth, so Governor candidates will have to settle for someone who ticks only a few of those boxes (or at least someone who can fake it in cowboy boots and a snazzy belt buckle.)

Hartman doesn't have many of the unicorn requirements, but he has the one characteristic key to Kobach's heart: Hartman shares Kobach's values, judging from the Saturday's debate.

As an added benefit to such a ticket, Hartman solves concerns some voters might have about Kobach. Several insiders worry that the Secretary of State is more of a legislator than an executive. Hartman has spent his life as an executive. Hartman's biggest challenge is that he doesn't have the ability to wow a room, a quality Kobach has in spades. Kobach doesn't seem to enjoy fundraising all that much, and Hartman has a giant wallet.

They complement one another well.

Perhaps most importantly, I suspect a lot of hard Kobach supporters would choose Hartman as their second choice, and a lot of Hartman supporters would say Kobach is their second choice. Few of the supporters of either campaign are likely to walk away if they join forces.

If the rumors are true, expect Kobach to make an LG announcement a few weeks from now. 

I'm also hearing rumors that Mark Hutton and Ken Selzer may be eyeing a partnership. I am not hearing as many specifics, so this one doesn't ring quite as true, BUT those two gave each other lots of positive nods during Saturday night's debate. 

If that duo decides to team up, Selzer belongs at the top of the ticket. He has executive experience, and a statewide victory in a crowded Republican primary.

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