Orman names GOP Sen. John Doll as running mate; senator will leave Republican Party

Kansas state Sen. John Doll, R-Garden City, makes a point during a caucus for GOP senators, Thursday, April 6, 2017, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Greg Orman, an independent candidate for governor in 2018, has named Republican Sen. John Doll, of Garden City, as his lieutenant governor running mate.

The announcement came in a news release issued around 12:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Doll, 60, was part of the moderate Republican wave in the 2016 election. A former member of the House, he unseated conservative Sen. Larry Powell in the GOP primary that year, 57 percent to 43 percent, then went on to win the general election handily.

Doll posted a comment on Twitter later in the day saying he had formally changed his voter registration to be listed as an unaffiliated voter.

“I’m running with Greg Orman because I believe he is the best possible Governor that Kansas could have,” Doll stated in the release. “He places the people first, he’s not about party politics and the only master he will serve is the people of the state of Kansas.”

Until Wednesday, Doll had chaired two Ways and Means subcommittees, one on education and another on the lottery and gaming. He is also vice chair of the Senate Education and Transportation committees.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, however, said that under Senate rules, Doll is now no longer qualified to serve on any committees. She said those assignments are made by the leaders of political party caucuses, and a party has to hold at least two seats in the Senate in order to make assignments.

An aide in Wagle’s office said Doll plans to continue caucusing with Senate Republicans for the remainder of the 2018 session.

His departure from the GOP ranks causes a slight shift in the party makeup of the Senate, which will now have 30 Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent.