Another Kansas Republican who holds a statewide office is eying the governor’s race, though it may not be a name you know by heart.
Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, a 64-year-old Leawood Republican, confirmed his interest in the race to The Star in a recent interview.
But he said a decision would not come soon on whether he’ll enter what could be a crowded primary field to replace Gov. Sam Brownback.
“I’ve been asked to consider by a number of people,” Selzer said when asked about his 2018 plans. “So we’re considering.”
Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, said “he told us that we could publicly say that he’s seriously considering running for governor.”
If Selzer runs, it wouldn’t be the first time a politician has jumped from insurance commissioner to the governor’s office. Democrat Kathleen Sebelius served in the role before winning the governor’s race in 2002.
Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, said although Selzer is a statewide elected official, he’s not as well known a quantity as someone like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach, another Kansas Republican, launched his campaign for governor last month.
“The race is really lacking someone who can be a step to the right of a Bob Dole kind of Republican, but who is less conservative than a Brownback or a Kobach,” Miller said. “And it would be interesting to see if Selzer, or someone like him, could try to occupy that space.”
Selzer, who was first elected insurance commissioner in 2014, joins a growing list of Republican candidates who have either already announced campaigns or have floated their interest in the race to the media.
Former Kansas City-area lawmaker Ed O’Malley has also waded into the race by launching an exploratory campaign.