Sebelius endorses state senator in Kansas governor’s race

Shown at left is Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka. At right is former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

? Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor’s race.

Kelly touted the backing of Sebelius as the Kansas Democratic Party began an annual two-day convention Friday in Kelly’s hometown of Topeka.

Sebelius served as Kansas governor from 2003 until she became former President Barack Obama’s HHS secretary in April 2009. She remains influential in Democratic Party circles.

Kelly is part of an already crowded race for the Democratic nomination.

Rival Democratic candidate and former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty issued a statement saying it’s not surprising that Sebelius would endorse Kelly because they were neighbors for years in Topeka.

Svaty pointed to former Democratic Gov. John Carlin’s support for him. Carlin was governor from 1979 through 1986.