Independent lawmaker wins spot on Kansas ballot for governor
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A hard-right Kansas state senator who has clashed with Republican leaders has gained a spot on the November general election ballot as an independent candidate for govenor.
The Kansas Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that Sen. Dennis Pyle, of Hiawatha, had turned in more than the 5,000 required petition signatures to gain a spot on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Allies of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly helped Pyle gather some of the necessary signatures. Pyle’s candidacy could complicate GOP nominee and state Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s bid to unseat Kelly. Some Democrats hope Pyle and Schmidt will split conservative Republican votes just enough for Kelly to win a second four-year term.
Pyle this year opposed plans from the state Senate’s top Republicans for redrawing congressional and legislative boundaries — and was stripped of most of his committee assignments as a result. He left the Republican Party in June.
The Kansas Republican Party tried earlier this month to thwart Pyle’s efforts to get on the ballot by texting people who signed his petitions to urge them to remove their names.
The texts told the signers that their names were on petitions to help Kelly win reelection. Pyle called the text message “a blatant lie.