Topeka Senate President Dave Kerr made it clear Friday that he would like to serve as governor. What isn't clear is whether he will be a candidate in the Republican primary this summer.
"I want to be governor," Kerr told reporters during a news conference. "I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to lead."
Meanwhile, GOP candidate Tim Shallenburger, the state treasurer, toured the state introducing his choice for lieutenant governor, Dave Lindstrom. Currently a businessman in Overland Park, Lindstrom was a defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1978 to 1985.
Shallenburger and Lindstrom filed for office during a Topeka news conference, signing the documents and paying the $1,705 filing fee. The treasurer, considered the conservatives' choice, joined Dan Bloom, a former Eudora public schools superintendent, as the only Republican candidates to file.
Lindstrom was picked because he is outside of the Topeka area and could bring an outside perspective to state government, said Shallenburger, who also is a former speaker of the House of Representatives.
Shallenburger also scheduled stops in Pittsburg, Wichita, Dodge City and Great Bend.
"We couldn't have found somebody better," he said, noting Lindstrom's involvement in numerous state and county leadership organizations.
Lindstrom, a Boston University graduate, owns four Burger King franchises in the Kansas City area, including three in Kansas. He is a member of the Sunflower Foundation, an advisory board established by Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall to administer $75 million from a legal settlement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.
Stovall was running for the GOP nomination for governor against Shallenburger but dropped out April 15.
Kerr, of Hutchinson, has avoided labels but is generally considered more of a moderate, serving in the Senate since 1984. He said a factor in his decision would be the ability to mount a serious campaign within the short window before the Aug. 6 primary.
He said he would make a decision quickly before the June 10 filing deadline for statewide offices. Kerr is forming a group to help him with his decision.
"Clearly, it's late to be getting into this race, but it's not unprecedented," Kerr said, noting that Gov. Robert Bennett jumped into the race late in 1974.
Wichita Mayor Bob Knight, who also has avoided labels, is campaigning for the GOP nomination.
His campaign has confirmed that Knight is considering picking moderate House Speaker Kent Glasscock, of Manhattan, as a lieutenant-governor running mate.
Glasscock previously abandoned his own gubernatorial campaign and was Stovall's running mate before she withdrew. After Stovall's announcement, his aides suggested he was leaning toward re-entering the governor's race.
Glasscock said he would make an announcement Monday, adding that he would be seeking some office but not re-election to the House.
The presumed Democratic nominee is Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius, though she has yet to file.