laura kelly.jpeg

Gov. Laura Kelly

The Emporia Gazette

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly held a narrow lead over Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt in final unofficial results. She declared victory in a message to supporters Wednesday morning, with Schmidt admitting the race was unlikely to change Wednesday afternoon.

Kelly, who is seeking a second term, led Schmidt 49% to 48% Wednesday morning with all precincts reporting.

“The people of Kansas sent a very clear message at the polls yesterday,” Kelly said. “Kansans said we will keep moving forward as a state, full steam ahead — there will be no turning backward.

“I want to thank Attorney General Derek Schmidt for his service to the state. We had strong, healthy disagreements on the issues, but I do believe he cares about this state, and that we stand united in our commitment to Kansas and its future success.”

Schmidt offered his congratulations to Kelly in a release Wednesday afternoon.

“I congratulate Governor Kelly on her apparent reelection and wish the best for our beloved state during the next four years,” Schmidt said. “It has been a tremendous honor to be the nominee of the Republican Party for governor of Kansas ... This journey has truly been a blessing, and for that I will always be thankful.”

Kelly said Kansans voted for “strong public schools, for economic growth, for balanced budgets, and for protecting individual rights — including a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.”

Her victory comes after Kansas voters in August overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have eliminated abortion rights to the state constitution just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The outcome energized Democrats in an otherwise favorable year for Republicans.

Kelly took a “middle-of-the-road approach” during her campaign.

“Everyone is tired of hyper-partisanship and vitriol in our politics — and everyone’s tired of being at each other’s throats,” she said. “That’s why those nasty, negative, divisive ads against us backfired.

“When you look at the successes we’ve achieved these first four years, we’ve done it by working together — from fully funding our schools, to eliminating the food tax, reinvesting in infrastructure, recruiting businesses to Kansas from around the world, and creating and retaining 53,000 jobs.”

Kelly won the state’s two largest counties — Johnson and Sedgwick — even as counting in rural areas, likely to be areas supportive of Schmidt, continued.

Kelly also won Lyon County by 53-44%, while Schmidt was dominant in Chase and Greenwood Counties.

Though Republicans were expected to perform well nationwide, Kansas stood the chance of being an outlier. Kelly, the only Democratic governor running for reelection in a state carried by former President Donald Trump in 2020, had been a relatively popular governor in her first term.

Polls had predicted the race would be exceedingly close. A week before the election, a survey from Emerson College Polling and Nexstar Media Group gave Kelly a lead of 3 percentage points, a statistical tie as it fell within the margin of error.

Schmidt, who has been the state attorney general for over a decade, had sought to tie Kelly to discontent with Democrats across the country. His messaging hinged on inflation, President Joe Biden and Kelly’s decisions early in the pandemic to shut down schools and businesses.

Schmidt also repeatedly highlighted his support for banning transgender athletes from girls’ sports, a position that put him at odds with Kelly, who twice vetoed a ban passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Schmidt promised to sign a ban if elected.

(15) comments

Aim_High

Don't try to backpedal Ricky... I'm the one who said Kelly won, you're the one who said BS... go back and read it again... slowly.

I'm not sure why you're even arguing about me saying Kelly won anyways... especially when Schmidt conceded before she claimed victory. Go read my original comment. It says "Kelly won". It's very easy for you to look up the results and see who won for yourself since it's so hard to believe anything I say. You will find I'm right again and you are wrong, as usual.

I'm also not making fun of you for voting for Kelly, as that would make zero sense. I'm not even sure why you'd think that... I'm making fun of you because you're dense cabbage. This entire "argument" is a complete waste of time. At least I'm getting paid for it I guess...

Your whining about my jokes is also incredibly funny since they're in RESPONSE to your insults. But your whining about them does let me know I'm hitting my mark, lol. Your whole comment history is nothing but following me around responding to my comments with stupidity... and defending sex offenders... You really need to work on yourself. You're better than this.

Ricky

You don’t make any sense, and yes, it is a waste of time, especially since nobody other than you and me are paying any attention to this whole mess. So yes, you are ignorant and wasting your time and your employers money and I’m ignorant for wasting my time also. Difference between us is all admit when I’m wrong you never will because you always think you’re right and I’m sure anybody that reads this and knows you will agree with me. Enjoy wasting your time and your bosses money. LOL

Aim_High

Kelly won, get a life.

Ricky

Well, that is one thing we can agree on that Kelly won thanks to my vote along with many others that supported her.

Aim_High

Wow Ricky, you just lost an argument with yourself lmao. You started this argument over my comment stating that Kelly won. Glad you finally realize what I say is not BS.

Ricky

Adding to my vote, or many other moderates, in the state of Kansas, like myself, who supported her in this election. Unlike you an outsider who can only supporter with your sarcastic comments about people you dislike. Get a life yourself to.

cmj94

As a paper of record for east central Kansas, you have a responsibility to report facts. A headline of "Candidate X declares victory" when in fact, candidate X has objectively won the election, is irresponsible. Do not do that. It feeds into conspiracy theorists' musings. The Gazette can be a positive force, but only if it upholds some of the principles that its most famous editor, William Allen White, stood for, and does not give in to the temptation of fake intrigue. Report the news. Was there a follow-up story definitively declaring Kelly the rightful winner of the election?

Aim_High

Kelly won, no doubt about it. She also wouldn't declare herself the winner if she wasn't certain... declaring yourself a winner before its over is something only Republicans do, to make their conspiracy theories more believable for their sheep when they inevitably lose.

Ricky

Your all BS Aim Low

Aim_High

You can believe Schmidt won all you want Ricky, but you'll still be wrong as usual.

Ricky

Voted for Gov. Kelly you idiot.

Ricky

Your wrong as usual

Aim_High

I said "Kelly won, no doubt about it." Ricky said "BS." Now he is disagreeing with himself? LOL imagine how slow the rest of Rickys fathers sperm had to be for Ricky to end up the winner... Kelly won, no BS about it.

Ricky

It’s hard for anybody to believe in your BS aim low. You can make all the jokes you want but it still BS coming out of your mouth lol.

Ricky

Interesting how you’re making fun of me for voting or governor Kelly. I guess that’s just coming from your screwed up mind too much smoking pot in Colorado. Lol

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