News Briefs

Kansas Farm Bureau endorses Schmidt for governor after staying out of 2018 race

By: - June 29, 2022 2:28 pm
The Kansas Farm Bureau's PAC endorses Republican Derek Schmidt in the 2022 governor's race after declining to endorse the GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach in 2018. The Democratic Party's frontrunner is Gov. Laura Kelly. (Photos by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

The Kansas Farm Bureau’s PAC endorses Republican Derek Schmidt in the 2022 governor’s race after declining to endorse the GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach in 2018. The Democratic Party’s frontrunner is Gov. Laura Kelly. (Photos by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The Kansas Farm Bureau political action committee Wednesday endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt in a departure from the organization’s decision in 2018 not to throw its political weight behind GOP nominee Kris Kobach.

Farm Bureau president Rich Felts said the organization’s PAC concluded Schmidt, who serves as the state’s attorney general, “earned the trust of Kansas farmers and ranchers.”

Felts said he had known Schmidt for two decades and the GOP candidate possessed the “right values” to lead the state.

In 2018, the Farm Bureau PAC stayed neutral when Kobach narrowly defeated Gov. Jeff Colyer for the GOP nomination for governor. Kobach, who was the secretary of state in Kansas, subsequently lost the general election to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Schmidt said in a statement he welcomed support of the Farm Bureau, which he described as a grassroots voice of Kansas agriculture.

“I understand the vital importance of our state’s rural heritage and will continue to work tirelessly to help our producers, agribusinesses and communities to survive and thrive for generations to come,” Schmidt said.

Madison Andrus, spokesperson for Kelly’s reelection campaign, said the governor had worked in a bipartisan manner on behalf of the agricultural industry and rural communities. Farmers from Goodland to Baxter Springs and from Atchison to Elkhart know Kelly has their back, Andrus said.

“Under Governor Kelly’s leadership, agricultural exports exceeded $5 billion in a single year for the first time ever,” Andrus said. “She’s also delivered bipartisan results to help farmers get products to market faster, cut taxes for farmers and ranchers, axed the food tax and expanded access to fast, reliable internet in every corner of the state.”

On June 25, the Kansas State Lodge-Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Schmidt. In 2018, the law enforcement organization backed Kelly.

Casey Slaughter, president of the state group, said Schmidt would be a friend of law enforcement agencies and had “always had our backs as attorney general.”

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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.