Government & Politics

House Democratic leader ends run for Kansas governor

Jim Ward
Jim Ward

House Minority Leader Jim Ward, the leading Democrat in the Kansas House, is dropping his run for governor and instead is seeking re-election to the Legislature.

"My voice is not leaving Kansas politics," Ward, of Wichita, said in a statement. "Our energy is not dissipating."

Ward is the first major Democrat in the field to end his campaign. Democrats are in the midst of their first primary campaign for governor since 1998.

"I look forward to continuing to use my voice in Kansas politics to advocate for job growth, strong schools, quality healthcare, fair pay, and non-discriminatory policies," Ward said in a statement. "Together we can continue to move our state forward, and we must."

Despite his prominent role as a foil to many in the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature, Ward struggled to raise money.

He also faced scrutiny in November when it was revealed he was part of a group of Democratic lawmakers who had received rides from interns after events that involved alcohol.

Other prominent Democrats remaining in the race include Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and former state Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty.

The Republican field includes Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and former nominee Jim Barnett.

Independent Greg Orman is also in the race.

The Star's Bryan Lowry contributed to this report.