Kansas GOP governor candidate arrested on felony charge plunges ahead with campaign

Candidate Arlyn Briggs confident criminal threat case will be dropped

By: - June 27, 2022 8:48 am
Rural Kincaid resident Arlyn Briggs, a Republican candidate for Kansas governor, said his recent legal problems would blow over. He's for term limits and won't take a salary if elected governor. (Kansas Reflector screen capture of Allen County Jail photograph)

Rural Kincaid resident Arlyn Briggs, a Republican candidate for Kansas governor, said his recent legal problems would blow over. He’s for term limits and won’t take a salary if elected governor. (Kansas Reflector screen capture of Allen County Jail photograph)

TOPEKA — Republican gubernatorial candidate Arlyn Briggs recorded a campaign commercial outlining his vision of conservative government in Kansas only to find out a prominent Christian radio network had no intention of airing the advertisement.

He said an employee at Bott Radio Network in Overland Park explained the campaign spot couldn’t be used on the network after learning of Briggs’ arrest on a charge of criminal threat against a law enforcement officer. The arrest in Allen County was a misunderstanding that ought to be resolved in his favor, Briggs said, but the radio network’s rebuff was a setback in his primary campaign against GOP frontrunner Derek Schmidt, who is the state’s attorney general.

“I’m a strong Christian,” Briggs said. “My job is to be a strong reflection of Jesus Christ.”

Briggs, 64, of rural Kincaid, said the legal trouble stemmed from allowing a man being sought by law enforcement for an alleged stalking offense to stay with him in early June. Briggs noticed a sheriff’s department vehicle driving slowly past his home, so he called the department to remind authorities of the “castle doctrine,” the stand-your-ground right of individuals in Kansas to take reasonable action, including deadly force, in defense of a home.

He warned law enforcement officers not to try anything, he said, and pointedly added “I may shoot you.” He said he wouldn’t have actually fired on deputies, and nothing happened. But officers later served an Anderson County warrant on him for criminal threat. He was released June 15 from Allen County Jail.

If successful in the Aug. 2 primary against Schmidt, Briggs would likely face Democratic frontrunner Gov. Laura Kelly as well as independent candidate Dennis Pyle and Libertarian Seth Cordell in November. If victorious in the general election, Briggs said he would donate his state government salary to charity.

“I feel the primary is where the contest is this year. Kelly is so liberal,” Briggs said. “I say vote for the person. Not what they said, but what they do.”

Briggs said he was disappointed with Schmidt as a political leader, and asserted the attorney general was too focused on getting on U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s “good list” in anticipation of eventually running for Moran’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Briggs said he’d challenged Schmidt to five debates, but hadn’t received a response.

“I think there’s growing concern among conservatives across the United States and Kansas with what’s happening with government and our leaders,” Briggs said.

On social media last year, Briggs was critical of state legislators who he claimed talked about the value of local government control and then passed bills stripping local elected officials of influence. He said they all should be taught a lesson by being voted out of office.

Briggs ran for the Kansas House in 2012 and 2020, but lost both contests. He was soundly defeated in the most recent campaign, falling to state Rep. Trevor Jacobs, with Jacobs securing 83% of the vote in a GOP primary.

He said he lived in Johnson County for about 30 years. He worked for a Kansas City bank and at Hallmark and has been employed as a trucker and farmer. He performed mission work in more than a dozen countries, he said.

Briggs’ lieutenant governor running mate is Abilene resident Lance Berland, who Briggs said recently performed community service in Colorado to deal with his own legal challenges.

On social media, Berland said “we the people” were engaged in a fight against Republican and Democrat “warmongers,” the “most bloated, wasteful bureaucracy in human history” and “corrupt crony capitalists.” He claimed businessman George Soros, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett were involved in demise of U.S. freedom.

“We have been played, and Americans killed, by our own government and the ultra-wealthy non-citizens who dominate our nation from Davos, Geneva, and Brussels,” he said. “These people have perpetuated and delivered the world only racism, eugenics, war, toxicity, disease and unnecessary deaths by the hundreds of millions. These people serve only themselves and the devil.”

He also expressed disappointment Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden were convinced by the “global health mafia” to recommend Americans be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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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.