Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2005

Ryun, Kline won’t run for governor

May 5, 2005

— U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, who represents west Lawrence, and Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, both conservative Republicans, said they had decided against running for governor in 2006.

"I plan to run for re-election. That has been my plan for some time," Kline said when asked whether he was going to make a gubernatorial bid next year.

Ryun posted a message on his Web site that said he planned to seek a sixth term in Congress.

He then blasted Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who is expected to seek re-election.

"She has done little to improve our economy, including her demonstrated preference to raise taxes, and she has been out of step with a majority of values that Kansans hold dear," Ryun said in the message.

For her part, Sebelius tried to stay out of campaign talk.

Asked about the jockeying by Republicans, she deadpanned, "It comes as a shock and disappointment that I am not going to run unopposed, if I choose to run again."

She said she would announce her intentions next year.

But on Sunday, in her first news conference after the end of the legislative session, she sounded like a candidate, focusing on accomplishments during her term.

Sebelius said the state's finances had improved greatly since the post 9-11 recession and that government was more efficient and the economy was in better shape.

"I believe we're on the right track," she said.

On Monday, House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, said he was leaning toward running for governor.

Other possible Republican candidates include Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins and Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, of Independence.

"I'm leaning toward that. I've got a lot of people to talk to, including my family. I'll have an answer before too long," said Mays, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1992 and has been Republican chairman of his precinct since 1975.

He said he was more "in tune with the average Kansan" than Sebelius.

Mays is considered part of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

"Anything is a possibility," Schmidt said Tuesday during a meeting with the Lawrence Journal-World editorial board.

Schmidt said his wife, Jennifer, was weeks away from delivering their second child and he would much rather spend the summer changing diapers than chasing votes. But if the GOP can't find a candidate like U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, who's able to appeal to both the conservative and moderate wings of the party, Schmidt said he might accept the challenge.

"I'm not a candidate," he said. "But I'm not ruling it out permanently.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, of Hays, last week said he would not seek the governor's office.

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