Conservative senator Pyle runs for governor as independent

June 7, 2022 GMT

HIAWATHA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state senator who recently left the Republican Party has begun campaigning for governor as an independent.

The Kansas City Star reports that grain and livestock farmer Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha on Monday appointed a campaign treasurer, allowing him to raise and spend money.

“I am a God-loving American, devoted to the Constitution and protecting our children, and I am entering this race to give Kansans a choice,” Pyle said in a statement Tuesday.

Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly are expected to win their parties’ nominations for governor in the Aug. 2 primary. Pyle will need to gather 5,000 signatures to appear on the November general election ballot. He’s chosen Clearwater school board member Kathleen Garrison as his running mate.

No independent or third-party candidate has come close to winning an election for governor in Kansas, but they sometimes draw enough votes to influence close elections. Pyle came in fifth in the Republican primary for the 2nd District congressional race in 2018.

In February Senate President Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, stripped Pyle of most of his committee assignments after he voted against the GOP drawn congressional redistricting map.