Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is the most endangered incumbent this cycle after winning a 2018 upset in part due to controversial GOP nominee Kris Kobach, plus a strong Democratic cycle. There’s no real primary to watch on Tuesday here — Attorney General Derek Schmidt became the de facto nominee last fall when former Gov. Jeff Colyer dropped out of the race amid a cancer diagnosis. Since last August, this race has already been in general election mode.
Republicans believe Kelly’s win was a fluke due to candidate quality and Democratic tailwinds four years ago, and that with a more traditional, practiced candidate like Schmidt they can take advantage of the favorable climate in a state President Biden lost by 14.6 points.
Democrats are confident that Kelly can win crossover votes, as she did four years ago, and argue that the stain of the unpopular former Gov. Sam Brownback still haunts Kansas Republicans today. And they point to Kelly’s efforts to slash the state’s food tax and balance the budget amid a time of rising costs and inflation.
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