By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World
TOPEKA, KAN. – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis announced that three former legislators, all Republicans, will lead the campaign's Republicans for Davis group.
“I am deeply committed to restoring the Kansas tradition of bipartisan cooperation in the governor’s office," Davis said Monday.
Davis, from Lawrence, is the House minority leader and likely Democratic challenger in November to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
In response to the announcement, Brownback's campaign spokesman David Kensinger referred to Davis' support of President Barack Obama.
"There are only so many Kansans willing to vote for a guy who doubled down on the Obama agenda as an Obama Delegate in 2008 and 2012," Kensinger said.
And James Echols, chair of Democrats for Brownback, issued a statement, saying that many Democrats appreciate Brownback's leadership. "Sam Brownback has shown the right mix of courage and vision to lead our state," said Echols, president of the board of Economic Opportunity Foundation Inc., of Kansas City, Kan.
Davis said he wanted Republicans and independent voters to be part of his campaign and administration if elected.
The three Republicans who will serve as co-chairs of Republicans for Davis are former House Speaker Wendell Lady of Overland Park and former House members Charlie Roth of Salina and Fred Gatlin of Atwood.
Lady said Brownback's income tax cuts, which included eliminating income taxes for nearly 200,000 business owners, "is the most unfair tax legislation ever enacted in Kansas." Brownback has said the cuts will stimulate the economy.
Roth said the state was going in the wrong direction under Brownback and that Davis has helped engineer bipartisan passage of key legislation. Gatlin said Davis would bring people together.
In Kansas, Republican registered voters outnumber Democrats by more than 341,000 out of the state's 1.7 million voters.