Greg Orman is dipping a toe into the race for Kansas Governor in 2018. He filed paperwork to launch an exploratory committee on Tuesday.
“I’m a political Independent for one really simple reason,” Orman’s campaign website reads. “I don’t believe the current system is working for the American people or the citizens of Kansas. The two major parties seem to care more about seeing the other party fail than they care about our country succeeding.”
Orman faces a deep pool of potential candidates. There are more than 20 individuals who have announced interest in running for Governor in 2018. Those vying for the Republican nomination include Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and Wichita businessman Wink Hartman. Those vying for the Democratic nod include Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, and former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty.
In order for Orman to officially enter the gubernatorial race, the Olathe businessman will need to gather signatures from 5,000 registered voters and submit the paperwork no later than Aug. 6, the day before the Republican and Democratic primary elections.
The gubernatorial race isn’t Orman’s first foray into politics. In 2014, he ran for the U.S. Senate against Pat Roberts, the incumbent Republican. Democrats cleared the field for Orman. Despite Democratic candidate Chad Taylor withdrawing from the race, Orman lost by 10-points to Pat Roberts in the head-to-head race.
Kansas Democrats aren’t likely to clear the field for Orman in 2018.
“Democrats aren’t going to forfeit the race to him,” Kansas Democratic spokesperson Ethan Corson told the Kansas City Star.
Orman may be courting Republicans this year. He named Tim Owens, an Overland Park attorney and former state senator, as campaign treasurer. Owens, a Republican, served in the Kansas Senate from 2009 to 2012. He lost the 2012 Republican primary by 20 points to then-Rep. Jim Denning.
Owens told Slate Magazine that he lost that primary due to a classical battle in the Republican Party between the ultra conservative wing and the moderates.
“My assessment is that there’s a very passionate, ultra-conservative part of the party that got their people out to vote, and there’s a fairly apathetic middle of the road moderate group that doesn’t seem as passionate, to me, about anything,” Owens told Slate.
Now, he’s hoping to rally those troops on behalf of Orman, it appears.
“There’s a lot of folks out there who are really tired of the extremist views,” Owen told the Topeka Capital-Journal on his appointment as the Orman campaign treasurer. “…Independents really need a voice, and I think they want to address the same issues moderates in both parties are feeling.”