Mann returns campaign favor, endorses Colyer in Kansas GOP governor’s race

Colyer, Schmidt jousting for chance to take on incumbent Kelly

By: - June 2, 2021 10:11 am
New polling shows Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly with a slight edge over Attorney General Derek Schmidt, left, in a likely 2022 gubernatorial showdown following former Gov. Jeff Colyer's withdrawal from the GOP primary. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

New polling shows Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly with a slight edge over Attorney General Derek Schmidt, left, in a likely 2022 gubernatorial showdown following former Gov. Jeff Colyer’s withdrawal from the GOP primary. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, who served as Jeff Colyer’s lieutenant governor, became the second member of the Kansas congressional delegation to endorse Colyer’s campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2022.

Mann, who represents the largely rural 1st District covering the western half of the state, said Wednesday that Colyer had demonstrated an appreciation of the state’s conservative agricultural roots.

“During Governor Colyer’s leadership, Kansas increased advocacy for international trade, addressed multi-state water conflicts and elevated agriculture issues in the statehouse,” Mann said. “Governor Colyer has always had the Kansas agricultural community’s back. He understands what it takes to lead with conservative action.”

U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, the 1st District Republican, endorsed Jeff Colyer in the Kansas GOP governors race. Mann was Colyer's lieutenant governor in 2018 prior to being elected to Congress. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)
U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, the 1st District Republican, endorsed Jeff Colyer in the Kansas GOP governor’s race. Mann was Colyer’s lieutenant governor in 2018 prior to being elected to Congress in 2020. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

Colyer is competing against Attorney General Derek Schmidt in the GOP campaign for governor. Schmidt has been endorsed by Steve Baccus, who was president of the Kansas Farm Bureau from 2002 to 2014, and Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden.

Winner of the primary would likely take on Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who is seeking re-election to to a second term.

Colyer and Mann served together at the Capitol after Gov. Sam Brownback resigned in 2018 to take a job in the administration of President Donald Trump. Colyer, who was Brownback’s lieutenant governor for seven years, automatically became governor. Colyer appointed Mann as the state’s lieutenant governor.

In 2020, Mann won the U.S. House seat left vacant when Republican Roger Marshall ran for U.S. Senate. In that congressional race, Colyer helped campaign for Mann.

“I have known Dr. Colyer for a very long time,” Mann said. “He and I have always shared the same conservative values and have spent countless hours working together to solve issues facing our great state. Governor Colyer is a conservative fighter who puts Kansas Republicans in the best position to get a conservative back in Cedar Crest.”

Colyer said backing of Mann wasn’t “political,” but was indicative of their personal working relationship. In April, Marshall endorsed Colyer. He also won backing of Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of late president Dwight Eisenhower.

“True conservatives know that I am the candidate who will defeat liberal Laura Kelly in 2022,” Colyer said.

Colyer, while campaigning as an incumbent governor, lost the August 2018 primary for governor to then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a contest decided by 343 votes or 0.11%. Kobach was defeated in November 2018 with Kelly receiving 506,509 votes, or 48%, to Kobach’s 453,030 votes at 42.9%.

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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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