TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly’s campaign released a 30-second television ad that Kansans got to see for the first time during KU’s Final Four appearance against Villanova earlier this month.

Over the past four years, Gov. Kelly has delivered record economic success and put Kansas back on track,” campaign manager Shelbi Dantic said. 

“Just like Kansans cheering on the Jayhawks during the Final Four, Gov. Kelly’s record of working across the aisle to balance the budget, fully fund schools, and cut taxes is a slam dunk.”

It’s the first television ad of the election cycle from the governor’s re-election campaign.

“Gov. Laura Kelly has sort of struck the first blow,” Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty said Thursday. “What we’ll have to see is whether Derek Schmidt in a sense sort of takes the bait or just sits there for a while continuing to raise money thinking that it’s better to use that money later on in the race.”

She’ll be challenged by Republican front-runner Derek Schmidt, who is currently serving as the state attorney general.

“Once the election gets closer, you see actual responses within a couple days to a particular ad,” Beatty said. “But it’s so far away at this point that they may let it go.”

Schmidt’s campaign is not commenting right now, but an ad criticizing Kelly from the group Get Families Back to Work just started airing on television stations in the state.

Beatty said Schmidt’s campaign has not advertised on television yet, but that will likely change. 

“I predict it will be the biggest gubernatorial campaign in Kansas’ history in terms of history, and that’s just a trend, and most of that money goes to TV ads,” he continued.

Beatty said Republican and Democratic political action committees have said the Kansas governor’s race is one of their key races to focus on in November 2022.