Former US Senator Dole and Roberts endorse Schmidt in Kansas GOP primary for governor
TOPEKA – Former U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Robert Dole stepped down on Tuesday to endorse Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s campaign for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022.
The campaign to determine who is challenging Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has taken the form of a contest between Schmidt and former Gov. Jeff Colyer, who also served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Sam Brownback.
“In the 25 years that I have known Derek Schmidt,” said Roberts, “I have observed and admired his strong and consistent leadership. Derek understands the rural agriculture of America and Kansas. He’s an experienced and trusted leader, and he’s a proven winner. “
Roberts declined to stand for re-election in 2020 after representing Kansas for 40 years in Washington, DC. His work in Congress coincided with that of Dole, who was in the Senate until he won the 1996 nomination to be the Republican Party candidate for president.
Dole said he appreciated Schmidt’s goal of putting the needs of the Kansans first as he worked his way up the political ranks.
“He’s a strong Republican, and he’s got what it takes to win and lead with common sense and decency. I am proud to support my good friend Pat Roberts and to support Derek Schmidt as governor, ”said Dole.
Roberts and Dole made reference in their statements to Schmidt’s background as the winner of three campaigns for the Kansas Senate and three races for the attorney general. The idea was to remind voters that Colyer, who served as governor after Brownback left, lost 0.1% of the GOP primary for governor to Kris Kobach. It was Kobach who fell to Kelly in the general election by over 50,000 votes.
In that 2018 Kansas governor primary, Dole endorsed Colyer and President Donald Trump endorsed Kobach.
Schmidt, 53, said he was honored to receive support from Dole and Roberts in his pursuit of the GOP nomination in 2022.
“The Kansans have been blessed with so many years of honorable, efficient and distinguished public service from these two Republican icons, and as someone who has admired them since I was young, I could not be prouder or more humble to win their support. “said Schmidt.
Schmidt’s previous supporters in his gubernatorial campaign include Kansas House President Ron Ryckman, Senate Vice President Rick Wilborn, former Farm Bureau Chairman Steve Baccus and Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden.
US Senator Roger Marshall, who replaced Roberts, offered Colyer’s early endorsement. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, a Republican seeking re-election in 2022, did not reveal a GOP preference during the governorship showdown.
In addition to Marshall, Colyer was endorsed by U.S. Representative Tracey Mann, the 1st District congressman who served as Colyer’s lieutenant governor, and Mary Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower.