Former Rep. Mark Hutton joins race for Kansas governor

In this file photo from May 26, 2015, Kansas state Rep. Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, speaks to reporters following a House Taxation Committee meeting at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

? Former state Rep. Mark Hutton, of Wichita, filed paperwork Monday to appoint a campaign treasurer in a bid for the Republican nomination for Kansas governor in 2018.

Hutton, who founded a general contracting firm in 1992 that is now operated by his son, served two terms in the Kansas House. He was elected to the 105th District in 2012 and 2014 but chose not to seek a third term in 2016.

Known as a fiscal conservative, he broke ranks with Gov. Sam Brownback during the 2016 session over the issue of whether to continue exempting the owners of certain kinds of business entities from paying income tax on their nonwage business income. He offered a tax plan that year that would have reimposed income taxes on nonwage business income while simultaneously lowering the state sales tax on food.

Mark Hutton

During his final term, Hutton chaired the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee and served as vice chair of the Joint Committee on State Building Construction.

In a statement delivered through his spokesperson, Hutton said he got into the governor’s race largely out of frustration with what he saw happen during the 2017 session, when Brownback and the Legislature were unable to reach consensus on tax and budget plans, and lawmakers eventually overrode Brownback’s veto of a tax bill that reversed course on many of the tax cuts Brownback had championed during his first term.

Hutton said through his spokesman that Hutton considers himself a consensus-builder, and he thinks the governor and Legislature should have continued negotiating instead of resorting to a veto and override.

Hutton now becomes the seventh Republican to enter the race so far. He joins Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, Wichita businessman Willis “Wink” Hartman, former Rep. Ed O’Malley and former Sen. Jim Barnett.