Topeka Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Knight announced Monday that House Speaker Kent Glasscock is his lieutenant-governor running mate.
Knight, the Wichita mayor, made the announcement during a news conference outside the secretary of state's office in Memorial Hall, near the Statehouse.
"I couldn't ask for a stronger running mate than Kent," Knight told reporters, adding that he invited Glasscock to join the ticket.
Knight's announcement ends several weeks of speculation among Republicans about Glasscock's plans.
Two weeks ago, Knight's campaign confirmed that Glasscock, from Manhattan, was on the Wichita mayor's short list of choices for lieutenant governor.
On Saturday, Glasscock attended a rally for Knight in Wichita and told Knight's supporters: "On Monday we will be together once again, making an announcement of sorts."
Knight cited Glasscock's legislative experience in explaining his choice. He said the House speaker's leadership was tested by this year's session, which lasted a record 106 days and saw lawmakers approve $252 million in tax increases to avoid large cuts in aid to public schools and spending on higher education and social services.
"This team will not only unite the Republican Party, we'll work to unite all Kansans to move our great state forward, creating jobs and improving our schools along the way," Knight said.
Glasscock began running for governor last year but dropped out of the race to run with Attorney General Carla Stovall, who then became the choice of many moderates. But Stovall quit the race in April, saying she didn't have the desire to run statewide.
When Stovall dropped out of the race, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission ruled that Glasscock was entitled to keep a portion of the money the campaign raised. Glasscock said Monday that he expected to transfer "a bunch" of money to the Knight campaign, declining to disclose an exact amount.
Aides then said that Glasscock was inclined to "re-engage" in the race, but the House speaker then underwent an angioplasty to clear blockage in an artery to his heart. Glasscock said Monday that his health was one reason for not being a "top-of-the-ticket" candidate.
"We were better off, and the state was better off, if we joined with a person who we think can make Kansas an outstanding governor," Glasscock said.
Other candidates in the Republican race are State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger and Dan Bloom, a former Eudora school superintendent.
Both have named their running mates. Shallenburger's choice is Dave Lindstrom, an Overland Park businessman who was a defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1978-85. Bloom named his son, Eric, a senior at the University of Kansas.
Another possible GOP candidate is Senate President Dave Kerr, of Hutchinson. He is expected to make his intentions known in the coming weeks.
The presumed Democratic nominee is Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius, who has not named a running mate.
The filing deadline for statewide and legislative offices is June 10, with the primary set for Aug. 6.