The Buzz

Former GOP U.S. senator, Senate president among those choosing Kelly over Kobach

Democratic state senator and governor candidate Laura Kelly
Democratic state senator and governor candidate Laura Kelly The Wichita Eagle

Democratic candidate for governor Laura Kelly targeted her pitch to moderate Republicans Thursday, saying she has the support of more than two dozen Republicans who have held prominent elected office.

Among them are Sheila Frahm, a former U.S. senator and lieutenant governor in Kansas, and former Kansas Senate President Dick Bond. Frahm held the Senate seat vacated by Bob Dole for only a matter of months before losing it to Sam Brownback in 1996.

“(Kelly) will bring Kansans together to rebuild our state,” Frahm said in a statement. “Not only that, she will slam the door on the failed policies of Sam Brownback and stop Kris Kobach.”

The development comes after a Kansas City Star survey of 95 Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate who are either on the ballot or will remain in office next year. Of those, 58 percent said they would support Kobach. Close to 40 percent either wouldn’t say or did not respond to repeated inquiries.

Former GOP Gov. Bill Graves endorsed Kelly earlier this month.

A spokesman for independent Greg Orman’s campaign said “the Topeka establishment supporting the Topeka establishment is a surprise to nobody.”

The Kobach campaign struck a similar tone in its statement.

“Many of these individuals are Republicans in name only who always support Democrats in major races,” Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert said. “Others are Topeka insiders who are worried that the Kobach administration will end the culture of corruption that has been so profitable to them. “