Johnson County sheriff endorses Schmidt in GOP governor’s race

Colyer, Schmidt battling to pile up 2022 primary commitments

By: - May 17, 2021 7:59 am
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a GOP candidate for governor in 2022, earns endorsement of the Johnson County sheriff. Schmidt and rival Jeff Colyer are working hard to nail down support ahead of the primary showdown. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a GOP candidate for governor in 2022, earns endorsement of the Johnson County sheriff. Schmidt and rival Jeff Colyer are working hard to nail down support ahead of the primary showdown. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The sheriff of Kansas’ most populous county on Monday endorsed Derek Schmidt in the Republican primary for governor, praising the attorney general’s defense of law enforcement officers and his stand against violent criminals.

Calvin Hayden, who won re-election as sheriff in 2020 without opposition in vote-rich Johnson County, threw his support behind Schmidt rather than former Gov. Jeff Colyer, who also is seeking the GOP nomination in August 2022. Colyer is a Johnson County surgeon.

“As a sheriff and lifelong law enforcement officer, I know how important it is to have leaders who will work with law enforcement to keep our communities safe,” Hayden said. “With our law enforcement under attack now more than ever before, Kansas needs a governor who wants to defend, not defund, our police. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Derek Schmidt.”

The sheriff said Schmidt demonstrated he was tough on crime by “cracking down on violent criminals” and by working to keep families safe.

“Derek also understands that in order for Kansas to thrive, we need to strongly support the rule of law and critical protections for all of our families,” Hayden said.

Schmidt is serving a third term as Kansas attorney general. He previously represented a southeast Kansas district in the state Senate.

Colyer, who stepped in as governor after resignation of Sam Brownback in 2018, earned the endorsement of Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late President Dwight Eisenhower. He also secured support of U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, the Republican who replaced retired Sen. Pat Roberts.

“Jeff is the man we can count on to stay loyal to the traditional Kansas values we were raised on,” Marshall said.

Colyer has accused Schmidt of spending more than 20 years in politics “carrying water for the most liberal elements of the Kansas Republican Party.”

Schmidt also has been endorsed by Steve Baccus, who led the Kansas Farm Bureau from 2002 to 2014 and chaired Colyer’s campaign for governor in 2018. Colyer lost that GOP primary contest to Kris Kobach, who went on to lose the general election to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. She is seeking re-election.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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