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Race for governor comes almost six months early, candidates start campaigning



TOPEKA, Kan. — The race for governor has started a whopping 17 months before the primary election as Republicans Jeff Colyer and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt have announced their candidacy for the 2022 governor race.

Compared to year’s past these announcements are very early.

In 2017, then-incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer ran for re-election against Democrat Laura Kelly. Colyer announced his bid in Aug. 2017 — 12 months before the Republican primary. In December of the same year, Kelly announced her candidacy nine months before the primary.

However this year, she announced her re-election campaign in Dec. 2020, which is 20 months before the election.

But, the person to announce their bid first was Schmidt.

“Elected officials have an incredibly wide latitude in terms of doing the job they were elected to do, but also being able to campaign,” said KSNT News’ Political Analyst Bob Beatty.

And that’s is unique to Kansas, it’s not the case in all states. For example, the press secretary for elected official can also be the campaign press secretary.

“If you’re an incumbent you’re always campaigning,” Beatty said. “So, Derek Schmidt whenever he gives a press conference on fighting crime is also running for governor and Governor Kelly is also running for governor while she’s touring a school.”

Beatty suggests that one possible reasoning for campaigning so early is fundraising.

“On the Republican side it looked like Jeff Colyer got a little bit caught off guard by Derek Schmidt declaring because Colyer’s website still isn’t even up and running,” Beatty said. “Which does make me think he hadn’t quite planned to go official this early, maybe Derek Schmidt prompted him to do so.”

The 2022 Kansas gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022.