Former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves crosses party line — again — to endorse Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Former two-term Republican Gov. Bill Graves affirmed Thursday a cross-party endorsement of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Graves, who served as Kansas governor from 1995 to 2003, said in a statement he would urge Kansas voters to reelect Kelly in November.

“In 2018, I broke party lines to support Governor Kelly because Kansas needed a steady hand at the wheel to put Kansas back on the map,” Graves said. “Over the last four years, Governor Kelly has done just that. She is a common-sense leader who continues to govern from the middle to get things done for Kansans.”

Kelly is in a contest with Republican nominee Derek Schmidt, the state’s attorney general; Libertarian Seth Cordell; and state Sen. Dennis Pyle, who is running as an independent. Schmidt’s candidacy has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, both Republicans.

Graves, who also was secretary of state in Kansas from 1987 to 1995, said Kelly was “the only candidate who can bring both parties together to deliver for Kansans.”

Kelly said she appreciated Graves’ support and shared his dedication to public service, fiscal responsibility and education.

“At the end of the day, all Kansans, regardless of political party, want the same things: safe roads, a balanced budget and high-quality schools,” Kelly said.

Schmidt and Kelly appeared Wednesday night at a question-and-answer forum sponsored by the Kansas Chamber with other statewide political candidates. The two candidates for governor are scheduled to debate Saturday at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson and Oct. 5 at an event organized by the Johnson County Bar Association.

Schmidt said he would welcome the opportunity to expand the debate schedule to appearances on television and in Garden City and Johnson County.

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