Emma O’Brien
June 7, 2022



Topeka, KS – Late last night, Senator Dennis Pyle launched a campaign to counter Derek Schmidt’s run for Governor, signaling infighting within the Republican party and concerns over Schmidt’s ability to lead the state. According to the Kansas City Star, Pyle is running “to give Kansans a choice,” which will “pose a challenge to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.”

“As Republicans flock to support Governor Laura Kelly because of her track record as a fiscally responsible and unifying leader, Schmidt continues to have problems with his own party,” said Emma O’Brien, spokesperson for the KDP. “First, he was forced to pick an unknown political operative as his running mate on the last day of filing despite being the presumptive nominee for almost a year, and now a Republican legislator who served with Schmidt launched a third party campaign – starting with an attack on Schmidt. It’s clear there’s no confidence in Schmidt’s ability to be Kansas’ next Governor.”

Read more about the Republican infighting here, or key quotes below:

  • Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle, a conservative who recently left the Republican Party, began campaigning for governor as an independent on Tuesday. 
  • Pyle has been a state senator since 2005, and a run by him could pose a challenge to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the Republican candidate, who avoided a contested primary only to now face a potential general election opponent on his right flank.
  • Pyle, a hard-right senator, appears most likely to attract conservative voters. A right-wing candidacy would stand in contrast to the last significant independent campaign for governor, the 2018 run of centrist Johnson County businessman Greg Orman, who ultimately found little electoral success.
  • Pyle said he was running “due to the continual gross negligence in protecting and assisting citizens.” 

Governor Laura Kelly’s campaign was endorsed by a broad coalition of Republican business leaders, Republican community leaders, and former Republican lawmakers from across the state that are supporting her for re-election this fall, signaling a growing movement of Republicans’ against Derek Schmidt.