While the Republican Party is dominant in Kansas - 46 percent of the state's registered voters are Republicans with the rest split between unaffiliateds and Democrats - the GOP gubernatorial field is noteworthy because none of the candidates has high name recognition.
Sensing a tough contest against Sebelius, who has more than $2.1 million in her campaign war chest for the November general election, more famous Republicans skipped the race, leaving lesser-known candidates to run.
The candidates are:
¢ Jim Barnett, 52, a physician and state senator from Emporia who is pushing a plan of tax cuts, which he says will stimulate the economy. Barnett said he would increase the dependent income tax exemption by $500, eliminate the estate tax and allow businesses to write off 10 percent of their capital investments. He has been a leading critic of the current three-year, $466 million school finance plan, saying it was too much. He opposes expanded gambling, wants to change the way judges are selected and would like to make English the official language.
¢ Ken Canfield, 52, is the founder of the National Center for Fathering and the author of books on effective fathering.
A political newcomer, Canfield has unveiled an economic plan that he said would create $1 billion in bonds and private funds to invest in new business. His plan also calls for allowing the intellectual property developed in universities to be free for use by businesses. He also emphasizes the need to strengthen families. He and Barnett are endorsed by the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life.
¢ Rex Crowell, 62, a rancher, school psychologist, attorney and former legislator from Longton, said if elected he would work on getting state universities more involved in the research and development of alternative energy.
He said the state needed to define what an adequate education is and fund schools to achieve that. He blames the Legislature for shirking its duty in school finance, which led to the Kansas Supreme Court ordering increases in funding. He said expanding health insurance for those unable to afford coverage would be one of his major priorities, and he supports expanded casino gambling in Kansas.
¢ Dennis Hawver, 63, is an attorney from Ozawkie and ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor in 2002.
He wants the election to be a referendum on the war in Iraq, which he opposes. He says he would cut most of government, reduce taxes and put in place a system where schools are run by elected boards for each individual school. Hawver appears at candidate forums dressed in an American Revolutionary War costume.
¢ Robin Jennison, 52, is a former Kansas House speaker from Healy who left the Legislature to start an outdoors tourism business and lobby for gambling interests. He said he and his lieutenant governor running mate, state Sen. Dennis Wilson of Overland Park, bring the most political experience to the race. He supports expanded gambling and embryonic stem cell research and has been highly critical of the Kansas Supreme Court for ordering lawmakers to increase school funding.
¢ Tim Pickell, 53, an attorney from Westwood, has proposed the establishment of an independent state auditor's office to find waste and identify ways to better manage state resources. The current auditor's office is under the authority of the Legislature.
He also would create a board to ensure that high-speed Internet access is available throughout Kansas and wants the state to become a leader in renewable energy.
¢ Richard "Rode" Rodewald, a retiree from Eudora, has not campaigned because of health reasons. He is an advocate for lower property taxes.