Greg Orman gains ballot spot in independent bid for Kansas governor

Independent Greg Orman is officially in the general election for Kansas governor, after the secretary of state’s office certified thousands of signatures he submitted to gain a spot on the November ballot.

The secretary of state’s office said Friday it had determined the petition submitted by Orman was sufficient and it placed Orman’s name on the general election candidate list.

Orman submitted his signatures on Aug. 6 — the deadline to do so, and the day before the Republican and Democratic primary election.

Orman said at that time he had submitted more than 10,000 signatures. Kansas requires independent candidates for governor to have 5,000 valid signatures.

State elections director Bryan Caskey said the secretary of state’s office had so far found more than 7,000 valid signatures.

Orman, a Johnson County businessman, has said he will build a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in order to win the race. Some Democrats and political observers have said he will draw votes away from Sen. Laura Kelly, the Democratic nominee, and help Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach win — an idea Orman rejects.

“Despite the best efforts of both parties to avoid electoral accountability by preventing anyone but their own from accessing the ballot, Sen. Doll and I will give Kansas voters a true Independent choice in this election for the first time in generations,” Orman said in a statement, referencing his running mate, Sen. John Doll of Garden City.

Democrats have suggested they will challenge Orman’s signatures. They have three business days to file an objection.

If a challenge is raised, the State Objections Board — comprised of the lieutenant governor, the attorney general and secretary of state — will meet and make a decision about the objection. Kobach has previously recused himself from involvement in the election process.

Orman ran unsuccessfully in 2014against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. In that race, Democratic candidate Chad Taylor dropped out, clearing the way for Orman to take on Roberts head to head.