Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer’s former campaign chairman and one of the state’s prominent agriculture leaders Monday agreed to serve as co-chair of candidate Greg Orman’s independent bid for governor in Kansas.
Steve Baccus, longtime president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, passed over Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach to endorse and agree to work for election of Orman, a Johnson County businessman. Baccus’ opportunity to affiliate with Kobach, Orman or three others campaigning for governor followed Colyer’s razor-thin loss in the Aug. 7 primary.
“I made it clear when I joined Governor Colyer’s campaign that I believed Kansas needed a leader who was committed to the state,” Baccus said. “While my candidate in the primary election did not succeed, I remain committed to ensuring that Kansas has the best leaders possible.”
Baccus, who served as president of the Kansas Farm Bureau from 2002 to 2014, said it was clear to him Orman and his running mate, Garden City Sen. John Doll, “represent all of Kansas and present the best partnership for the future of our great state.”
He said Orman was the lone candidate for governor who created thousands of jobs in Kansas and Doll was the only lieutenant governor candidate from western Kansas. Doll, who renounced his Republican Party membership to run with Orman, is a third-generation cattle feeder.
“I am honored to have Steve join the Orman-Doll team,” Orman said. “Steve’s knowledge of the agricultural sector will be invaluable as we look to grow Kansas and meet the challenges of the future.”
In July, the Kansas Farm Bureau endorsed Colyer in the GOP primary. After Kobach prevailed in the primary, Kobach said his most important endorsement was from President Donald Trump and considered Colyer’s most significant to have been from the Kansas Farm Bureau.
Orman and Baccus are scheduled to appear Monday night at a Kansas Farm Bureau meeting in Beloit. Other co-chairs and advisors to the Orman campaign are expected to be released within several weeks.
The November ballot for governor will include Orman, Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly, Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos.