Topeka House Speaker Doug Mays, a Republican from Topeka, today dropped out of the governor's race, saying he didn't want politics to get in the way of work during next year's legislative session.
"It would be unfortunate if gubernatorial politics were to stand in the way of sound policy. That, I fear, would be the case if I were to continue as a candidate," Mays said.
Mays said he would focus all his efforts on the legislative session, which starts in January, and doesn't plan to seek re-election to the House either.
Mays' departure from the Republican Party primary battle, leaves in the race, state Sen. Jim Barnett of Emporia, former House Speaker Robin Jennison of Healy and frequent candidates Dennis Hawver of Ozawkie and Richard Rodewald of Lawrence.
Mays is another in a long list of high-profile candidates who has declined to test Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who has all but announced her intention to run for re-election.
Others who were thinking about running but decided not to were U.S. Reps. Jim Ryun of Lawrence and Jerry Moran of Hays, Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins and state Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt of Independence.
Republican Party officials have said they expect more candidates to get in the race.
Mays said his decision had nothing to with whether his candidacy was picking up support.
"It was not made as a result of activity or actions by any candidate or elected official in either party. I have simply chosen to set aside my personal ambition and do what I believe is best for Kansas," he said.
The announcement also comes after several weeks turmoil within the state Republican Party with anti-abortion advocates calling for party chairman Tim Shallenburger to step down because he has accepted Republicans who support a woman's right to an abortion. Shallenburger has declined to step down.
Mays has been considered a leading conservative voice in the Legislature and earlier this year blasted the Kansas Supreme Court order for more funding of public schools.
He unsuccessfully pushed for a constitutional amendment that would have limited the court's authority.