By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
TOPEKA — The Kansas Farm Bureau political action committee Wednesday endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt in a departure from the organization’s decision in 2018 not to throw its political weight behind GOP nominee Kris Kobach.
Farm Bureau president Rich Felts said the organization’s PAC concluded Schmidt, who serves as the state’s attorney general, “earned the trust of Kansas farmers and ranchers.”
Felts said he had known Schmidt for two decades and the GOP candidate possessed the “right values” to lead the state.
In 2018, the Farm Bureau PAC stayed neutral when Kobach narrowly defeated Gov. Jeff Colyer for the GOP nomination for governor. Kobach, who was the secretary of state in Kansas, subsequently lost the general election to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
Schmidt said in a statement he welcomed support of the Farm Bureau, which he described as a grassroots voice of Kansas agriculture.
“I understand the vital importance of our state’s rural heritage and will continue to work tirelessly to help our producers, agribusinesses and communities to survive and thrive for generations to come,” Schmidt said.
Madison Andrus, spokesperson for Kelly’s reelection campaign, said the governor had worked in a bipartisan manner on behalf of the agricultural industry and rural communities. Farmers from Goodland to Baxter Springs and from Atchison to Elkhart know Kelly has their back, Andrus said.
On June 25, the Kansas State Lodge-Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Schmidt. In 2018, the law enforcement organization backed Kelly.