On Thursday, August 23, the State Objections Board put Independent Greg Orman on the November ballot for governor. This decision cleaves the block of voters that Democrat Laura Kelly had hoped to lead away from the alt-right Republican nominee, Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
The Board, composed of the attorney general, secretary of state and the lieutenant governor, rules on official objec-tions regarding candidates, ballots and related issues. At the meeting last week board members were represented by proxies, among them Kobach’s chief assistant, Eric Rucker.
The proxy Board ruled that Orman had collected far more than the 5,000 signatures needed for his name to be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Democrats, with Kelly in mind, had objected; they claimed that thousands of signatures for Orman were invalid because they had been gathered by out-of-state contractors hired to circulate his ballot peti-tions.
An attorney representing Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann agreed with the Democrats. But Rucker, and a proxy for Attorney General Derek Schmidt, said the signatures were good.
This was expected. The decision gives moder-ate Republicans who don’t like Kobach a third choice, Orman, who is moderate but not officially a Democrat. (Conservative Democrats, uncomfortable with Kelly, have the same option.)
The setup could be seen for months, from the moment Orman said he wanted to run as an independent. At first, speculation had it that Orman might have a chance: Democrats and especially Republicans, wary of their own parties’ nominees, would vote for the independent.
In Kansas, though, it won’t happen. Independents make all Republicans nervous, and most Democrats suspicious. Most will stick with their own kind, and the Objections Board knew it. Kobach could not be happier.
Orman may secure 25 percent of the vote, Kelly 35 to 40 percent. Kobach is likely to be elected ‒ a minority governor ‒ with roughly 40 percent. That’s the plan, the Board was aware of it, because Orman was not about to go away.