O'Malley Bails From Kansas Governor's Race When Donor Support Falls Short

Feb 2, 2018
Originally published on February 1, 2018 12:53 pm

The Republican race for governor remains crowded, but a little less so with Ed O’Malley’s announcement Thursday that he’s ending his campaign.

O’Malley, a former Kansas House member who last fall took a leave of absence from his job as CEO of the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center to campaign, said his inability to keep pace on the fundraising front prompted the decision to withdraw.

“I have realized that the funding necessary to remain competitive through August (when Kansas holds its primary voting) and then November is beyond our reach,” O’Malley said in a media release. “Therefore, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that now is not the time for this candidacy.”

At the close of the first campaign-finance reporting period, O’Malley trailed all the other leading candidates for the GOP nomination, with approximately $220,000.

Gov. Jeff Colyer — who was still lieutenant governor when the end-of-the-year reports posted — led the way with contributions totaling just over $630,000.

Wichita businessman Willis “Wink” Hartman and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer reported higher totals - $1.8 million and $713,000 respectively – but each made substantial personal contributions to their campaigns.

Former state Rep. Mark Hutton raised approximately $580,000, but his personal contribution accounted for more than one-third of it.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has the highest name recognition in the field due to his controversial work on immigration and voter registration laws, raised just over $350,000.

O’Malley is a 43-year-old moderate Republican. He’d hoped to build a grassroots political movement around the skills he gained creating a new approach to leadership training. That focused on consensus decision making rather than more familiar command-and-control models.

“Neither political party knows exactly how to solve our toughest problems,” he said. “That’s why we need elected officials with the wisdom and skill to bring people together, the willingness to truly listen to differing perspectives and the courage to chart new ways forward.”

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

Copyright 2018 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.