Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to seek second term in 2022, spokeswoman says

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly gives updates to the free testing strategies during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is running for reelection in 2022, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Spokeswoman Lauren Fitzgerald confirmed the Democratic governor’s plans four days after Kelly announced that Commerce Secretary David Toland also would serve as the state’s next lieutenant governor. Toland will replace Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, appointed by Kelly last week to fill a coming vacancy in the state treasurer’s office.

Toland was the treasurer for Kelly’s 2018 campaign for governor and is highly regarded by some business leaders. Naming Toland lieutenant governor could position him for a future run for governor and prompted speculation that Kelly might not run again.

Kelly ducked the question when she announced Toland’s appointment Monday, saying she is focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the Legislature’s 90-day session convening in January.

But the Sunflower State Journal reported that Kelly said during a virtual fundraising event Thursday evening that she would seek another term.

In an emailed statement to The AP, Fitzgerald said: “Governor Kelly is focused on the state’s response to COVID-19 and continuing Kansas’ economic recovery, but of course she is running for reelection.”

Among Republicans, former Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt are considered potential candidates for governor.

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