Rick Wilborn, a top Kansas Senate Republican, backs Derek Schmidt in governor's race
A top Kansas Senate Republican announced Wednesday their support for Attorney General Derek Schmidt's gubernatorial campaign, the second legislative leader to back Schmidt in the last week.
The endorsement of Senate Vice President Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, makes him the third Senate member to back Schmidt over former Gov. Jeff Colyer so far.
In a statement, Wilborn praised Schmidt as a "longtime friend" and praised his work with the Senate Judiciary Committee on the proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution, which will be on the ballot alongside the GOP primary in August 2022.
"This is an important election coming up, and we need fresh new leadership in the governor's office to get our state on track," Wilborn said. "Derek is the person for the job."
The announcement comes a week after House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, confirmed he wouldn't mount a gubernatorial bid himself, instead electing to back Schmidt.
It comes as Colyer and Schmidt ramp up their campaigns and fundraising operations, while attempting to corner the market on endorsements from their GOP brethren.
Schmidt has also received support from Helen Van Etten, a former Kansas RNC national committeewoman, as well as Steve Baccus, a former chair of Colyer's 2018 campaign, and multiple state legislators.
Colyer, meanwhile, has earned the heavyweight endorsement of U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and last month announced the backing of U.S. Rep. Tracy Mann, Colyer's former lieutenant governor.