ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JIM O’MALLEY
The race for the Republican nomination for governor is wide open after front-running candidate, Attorney General Carla Stovall, withdrew as expected Monday.
At a press conference in the attorney general’s office, Stovall announced her withdrawal from the race and threw her support to her running mate, Speaker of the House Kent Glasscock.
Stovall said she lacked the passion to run for statewide office or serve as governor. She said she entered the race after Sept. 11 because she felt a renewed sense of duty to serve the public.
“Almost immediately, however, it became clear to me that I had misjudged the level of commitment I had to making the race and to serving once elected,” she said. “I should no longer be considered a candidate. I simply do not have the passion required to run and serve.”
Stovall said she had made her decision before leaving on her trip to Ukraine, but was persuaded to wait until her return to announce her decision. She did not say who had persuaded her to wait.
“That delay-and the inevitable leaks-resulted in days of speculation in my absence, and I regret the nonsense that I understand occurred,” Stovall said.
She endorsed Glasscock and encouraged her supporters to work for his candidacy.
Stovall acknowledged that she has had a serious relationship with broadcasting executive Larry Steckline for several months, but said that was not why she was getting out of the race. She said she simply lacked the drive necessary to become governor.
Stovall said she intended to finish out her term as attorney general and had the necessary passion for that task.
Last week, some legislators were walking around wearing stickers that said, “(Insert name here) Republican for Governor.”
Moderate Republicans had joined forces to support a Stovall candidacy, but now, Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer is also considering joining the race.
Other possible candidates are Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, who has said he won’t decide until after the end of the legislative session, and Sen. David Adkins, R-Leawood, who is currently running for attorney general.
Wichita mayor Bob Knight and conservative Secretary of State Tim Shallenburger are already in the race for the Republican nomination for governor.
State Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius is the only Democratic candidate to have announced.