A New York City man running for governor of Kansas was knocked off the ballot Tuesday after an objection from a state GOP leader.
Andy Maskin, a 40-year-old who works in advertising, paid the filing fee earlier this month to get his campaign on the ballot for the August primary. The relatively unknown man would have faced off against the likes of Gov. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for the Republican nomination.
But when Jim Joice, the executive director of the Kansas GOP, objected to Maskin's filing, a panel of state leaders was convened to decide his fate. The board voted 2-1 to remove Maskin from the ballot.
"It's disappointing and weird," Maskin said in a phone interview after the decision.
Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker voted to keep Maskin on the ballot. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Brant Laue, chief counsel for the governor's office, voted to remove him.
Maskin was among a host of out-of-state residents who have talked about running for governor, including a Maryland teenager. The state director of elections has maintained that "under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor."
"It's unusual to say the least," Schmidt said during Tuesday's meeting.
Said Laue: "Isn't it interesting that we're here after more than a century of statehood, never having before had to confront the issue of whether a non-Kansan can run for governor of Kansas? I think that's probably because Kansans have the good common sense to understand that the person running to be their governor should be a fellow Kansan."
Maskin said he's been to Kansas twice in his life: Once on a trip to western Kansas and once to pay the $2,207 filing fee to run for governor and eat barbecue in Leavenworth.
Lawmakers this year passed a bill that says every candidate for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer or insurance commissioner must be a Kansas resident.
The bill, which is awaiting Colyer's signature, also says candidates must be 25 or older by the filing deadline. The bill would take effect at the start of 2019.
Schmidt also has filed a lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court in an attempt to keep the slew of out-of-state candidates off the ballot. That case is set to come in front of the court in less than a week.
The current Kansas law is "not a model of clarity," Schmidt said.
"I think the better reading of Kansas law today is that out-of-state candidates are ineligible to run for governor of Kansas," he said.
Maskin appeared by speakerphone during the meeting. After the vote, he asked whether he could appeal and how the upcoming court case could affect the board's decision.
The board's members tried to avoid giving him legal advice.
"Brother, you need a lawyer," Rucker told him.