In a normal year, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer might be a shoo-in to succeed Sam Brownback to the Kansas governorship, but 2018 will be anything but normal. A well respected doctor and a proven conservative, the now well-seasoned Colyer has three major obstacles to overcome before he is elected and two significant advantages.
The first obstacle is the Brownback legacy. Never before in Kansas history has there been such a concerted media beatdown of a fundamentally good and decent governor. Caught in the grips of BDS, Brownback Derangement Syndrome, the media have never beaten down any political figure in the region, even those who ended their careers in prison, with the relentless fury they unleashed on Brownback.
The second obstacle is a crowded field of worthy candidates. In the running already are Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, former state Senator Jim Barnett, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, Leawood businessman Patrick Kucera, and former legislator Ed O’Malley. The low-key Colyer will have a hard time distinguishing himself from the crowd.
The third obstacle is Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the most popular Republican in the state and a rising national star. If the race devolves down to Colyer v. Kobach, it will be difficult for Colyer to differentiate himself from a charismatic candidate with whom he is in agreement on most key issues.
This leads to Colyer’s primary advantage: In recovery from BDS, the media have caught an equally severe case of KDS, Kobach Derangement Syndrome. The media KDS case is complicated by their stage-five TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome. In the throes of these complementary pathologies, the media have already lost their critical faculties. As a Trump advisor, Kobach will suffer almost all of the blows emanating from the madness. The media will favor Colyer. He will have to be careful, though, not to exploit their favoritism, at least not publicly.
The second Colyer advantage is that he will likely be governor by the end of the year when Brownback is confirmed as Trump’s ambassador for religious freedom. The air of authority never hurts if, that is, he can woo “moderates” as governor without seeming to suck up to them. A good guy, Jeff Colyer has a hard road in front of him.