MARION Attorney General Carla Stovall announced Tuesday that she is running for governor on a ticket with House Speaker Kent Glasscock.
Her announcement and Glasscock's decision to run for lieutenant governor, instead of governor narrowed the race for the Republican nomination to only Stovall and State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger.
That sets up what many Republicans see as a contest between the Kansas GOP's moderate and conservative wings, led by Stovall and Shallenburger. Stovall said she's more conservative than she has been portrayed, a statement Shallenburger scoffed at.
Stovall and Glasscock told reporters during a rally in Wichita that their partnership creates a strong team with experience on a range of issues, in executive and legislative leaders and even private business.
"At the end of the day, what is important is what is best for the future of the state, and I truly believe by Carla and I coming together and governing together, that is the right choice for Kansas," Glasscock said.
Shallenburger said he believes Stovall picked Glasscock because of the money he had already raised for his own gubernatorial campaign. In October, Glasscock's campaign said he had raised $200,000 for the race, and Kansas law will allow him to transfer all of it to Stovall.
"That's the only benefit he brings to the ticket," Shallenburger said. "I think it's way too early to pick a running mate."
Stovall kicked off her campaign Monday night in Marion. Her rally in Wichita began campaign events in nine cities over two days.
She said Glasscock was her first choice for a running mate and described him as unselfish for dropping out of the governor's race.
State GOP Chairman Mark Parkinson said the Stovall-Glasscock ticket is a strong one because House speakers typically make strong statewide candidates in their own right.
Democratic Gov. John Carlin and Republican Gov. Mike Hayden both served as speaker before winning the 1978 and 1986 governor's races. Shallenburger served four years as speaker before being elected state treasurer in 1998.
But Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political scientist, saw Glasscock's selection by Stovall as a "natural occurrence." He questioned whether Glasscock was generating much excitement as a gubernatorial candidate.
Some moderates worried that two moderate candidates in the race would split moderate votes and hand the nomination to Shallenburger.
"Basically, the way moderates win is to have a one-on-one confrontation with conservatives," Loomis said. "Too many moderates spoil the broth."
Shallenburger said he's still confident that he will win the GOP nomination on Aug. 6.
He noted that Glasscock said last month that the state will need to raise taxes or legalize more gambling to raise extra money for public schools. Since then, the state's budget situation has become worse.
"He's going to be the father of a tax increase next year," Shallenburger said. "Just witness what happens this next year. It will just show she made a mistake."
Stovall has been considered a moderate, but she told reporters Monday that she has been labeled that way because of her support for abortion rights. Shallenburger, considered the conservatives' candidate, opposes abortion.
"I really think that the moderate-conservative labels don't work so much any more," Stovall said. "They really mean one issue, and there are so many more issues at play."
If Shallenburger is seen as the conservative candidate, he has tried before to keep from being seen as too conservative. When he kicked off his campaign Oct. 29, he told reporters that he believes he is less conservative than President Bush.
Stovall hasn't shied away from the moderate label, but said Monday evening that she is more conservative than portrayed.
"I'm the conservative when it comes to law enforcement issues, public safety, and when it comes to fiscal issues," she said.
Shallenburger scoffed at Stovall's statements and said her picking Glasscock as her running mate indicates she's no conservative.
"Every time anyone runs for governor, they say they're conservative," Shallenburger said. "I think I'm the only conservative in this race."
Stovall picked Marion, a community of about 2,100 residents about 50 miles northeast of Wichita, for the kickoff of her campaign because she grew up there. About 100 family members, longtime friends and supporters attended her speech at the Marion Senior Center and a reception afterward.
"If I would have been elected cheerleader in the seventh grade, I would not feel the need to have this attention and applause, like I do now," she joked, drawing laughter from her supporters. "I would never have had to run for governor, so it's really your fault."
Stovall, 44, was first elected attorney general in 1994 after serving as Crawford County's prosecutor and as a member of the Kansas Parole Board. She was re-elected in 1998 with more than 75 percent of the vote.
Senate President Dave Kerr, of Hutchinson, who identifies himself with neither party faction, plans to decide whether to run after the 2002 Legislature concludes in May.
Former state GOP Chairman David Miller also is looking at the race. Miller, a conservative, unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Bill Graves in the 1998 primary.
The presumed Democratic nominee is Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius.