Former Gov. Mike Hayden, a Republican who also served as Kansas House speaker, endorsed Democratic Gov. Laura’s Kelly’s reelection over Republican nominee Derek Schmidt, the state’s attorney general. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from Gov. Laura Kelly’s YouTube post)
TOPEKA — Former Republican Gov. Mike Hayden endorsed Tuesday the reelection of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
Hayden, who served as the state’s governor from 1987 to 1991, joined former GOP Gov. Bill Graves and former Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin in urging Kansans to vote for Kelly on Nov. 8.
“In 50 years in Kansas politics I’ve seen the good times and the bad,” Hayden said. “The affairs of Kansas are in good shape right now, and I credit the bipartisan approach of Governor Kelly.”
He said Kelly’s work as governor led to adoption of a multibillion-dollar highway and transportation program. He said state aid to K-12 public schools reached record levels and jobs were being created in the state’s economy. He touted passage of a law phasing out the state’s regressive 6.5% sales tax on groceries.
Kelly said she welcomed support from Hayden, who served as Kansas House speaker. The Vietnam veteran also was secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for two Democratic governors.
“Governing from the middle to bring both sides together is how I’ve always operated and it’s how we’ve been able to accomplish so much these past few years,” Kelly said. “I will always fight for what’s right for Kansas. Not for any one political party.”
Other Kansas Republicans endorsing Kelly include former U.S. Sen. Sheila Frahm, former Republican National Committeewoman Alicia Salisbury, former Attorney General Robert Stephan and former Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.
Schmidt has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, former U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Gov. Jeff Colyer. The list includes U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and U.S. Reps. Tracey Mann, Jake LaTurner and Ron Estes, all Republicans.
In addition, Schmidt earned support of five GOP governors — Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, Missouri’s Mike Parson and Nebraska’s Pete Ricketts.
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