Posts tagged with Barnett

GOP donors not flocking to Barnett this time in Kansas governor’s race

In a story that was posted online Thursday and carried in Friday's print edition summarizing campaign finance reports in this year's governor's race, we inadvertently omitted Republican candidate Jim Barnett.

According to his report, Barnett's campaign took in a total of $564,645 in 2017. Of that, however, $505,000, or 89 percent of the total, came from loans the candidate made to his own campaign, meaning he raised only $59,645 from outside sources.

Barnett is a Topeka physician who formerly served as a state senator from Emporia.

He was also the Republican Party's nominee for governor in 2006 when he ran unsuccessfully against then-incumbent Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. He received just over 40 percent of the vote.

In that race, Barnett reported having raised $281,7825 in his January 2006 report, and then another $238,253 in the months leading up to the August primary. He had only two major rivals in that primary, though: former Kansas House Speaker Robin Jennison; and social-conservative activist Ken Canfield.

In the general election cycle in 2006, Barnett reported raising $670,700.

Barnett has been out of politics now for a number of years, and this time around, he faces a wider and more competitive field of contenders.

There are those who say, however, that it matters less where a candidate gets his money than how he spends it.

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Republican Jim Barnett commits to LGBT nondiscrimination policy if elected governor of Kansas

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett said Thursday that he would be committed to a nondiscrimination policy to protect gay and lesbian state workers, a policy that current Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded in 2015.

"On the social issues, it’s been a huge black eye for our state, and I will make it very clear here today that if I am governor of Kansas, there will not be discrimination," Barnett said during a news conference Thursday.

When asked specifically about an executive order that was in place during Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration barring discrimination in executive branch agencies on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, an executive order that Brownback rescinded, Barnett said, "I would support that."

In this photo from June 20, 2017, Jim Barnett, a former state senator and 2006 Republican nominee for governor, announces that he plans to run again for governor in 2018.

In this photo from June 20, 2017, Jim Barnett, a former state senator and 2006 Republican nominee for governor, announces that he plans to run again for governor in 2018. by Peter Hancock

Thursday's news conference was intended to highlight Barnett's agenda for public education, which he referred to as "the driver of the Kansas economy in the 21st century." He said his agenda would be focused on investing in early-childhood education, increasing funding in order to stop the cycle of school finance litigation, and focusing on career preparation for Kansas students.

Answering questions from reporters, Barnett said that during his recent statewide tour of Kansans, he had heard from businesses all across the state that their biggest need is access to a highly trained workforce.

He was then asked about the number of young people who leave Kansas after high school or college for larger metropolitan areas elsewhere in the country that are perceived as more tolerant than Kansas, where lawmakers in recent years have proposed a series of "religious freedom" bills that critics say would legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Barnett, who is known as a social conservative on many issues, said he recognized that as a problem in Kansas.

Since announcing his candidacy earlier this year, Barnett said, he has tried to identify six major issues that he wants to focus on, spending one month talking about each. Earlier, he has gone on tours to focus on agricultural policy, health care, economic development and tourism.

"This month we're talking about education, and our last tour is going to be a young professionals tour," he said. "How do we change the image of this state in the fashion that you just described? And it's hugely important because a lot of us are going to retire, or are retired already, and if we don't replace ourselves we're going to be in trouble."

Barnett is vying in a crowded Republican field for the gubernatorial nomination in 2018. The perceived front-runner in the race is Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is known nationally for his crusades against illegal immigration, and who earlier this week received the endorsement of the nationally syndicated talk show host Sean Hannity.

Also running for the GOP nomination are Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer; Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer; former Rep. Mark Hutton, of Wichita; former Rep. Ed O'Malley, who now lives in Wichita; Wichita businessman Willis "Wink" Hartman; and a number of other lesser-known candidates, including several teenagers.

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