Former OP state senator Tim Owens resigns from Orman campaign, endorses Kelly for governor

Tim Owens.

Tim Owens, who represented a large part of the Shawnee Mission area as a Republican state senator from 2008 until 2013, on Tuesday announced he was resigning as treasurer of Greg Orman’s gubernatorial campaign and endorsing Democrat Laura Kelly.

Orman has been sharply critical of the two major political parties over the course of his bid to become governor, saying that his independent candidacy represented an opportunity to show that Democrats and Republicans’ partisan hold on the country could be broken. But polls have shown him in a distant third place behind Republican nominee Kris Kobach and Democratic nominee Laura Kelly, who are neck-and-neck.

In a message accompanying his announcement, Owens said his decision was motivated by a desire to keep Kobach out of the governor’s office.

Here’s Owens’ full statement:

Effective today, I have resigned my position as treasurer for the Orman for Kansas campaign. It is time to unite behind Senator Laura Kelly and stop Kris Kobach.

I’ve been a friend and colleague to Greg Orman for several years. I supported his run for Senate in 2014 and I until today supported his run for governor. However, this is a critical election for Kansas. We cannot risk the future of our state.

This decision was very difficult for me, but I have to put Kansas first.

Electing Kris Kobach governor is one of the worst things that could happen to our state. For those of us who lived and worked in the legislature through the dark Brownback years, we know just how damaging a return to those policies will be. And that is exactly what Kobach will do. The polarization he will bring to our state would be detrimental to the economic development of Kansas and damage our workforce.

I worked with Laura Kelly closely in the Senate. I know her to be a strong, independent leader who always puts the people of Kansas first. Laura is the only viable candidate for governor who can win and bring people together — regardless of political party — to move our state forward. It is time for all Kansans who value good schools, affordable healthcare, a growing economy, and common sense to unite and stand with Laura Kelly.