TOPEKA — Independent gubernatorial candidate Dennis Pyle’s post-election critique of why Republican Derek Schmidt lost to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly did nothing to soothe Kansas Republican Party leaders frustrated by Pyle’s insurgent conservative campaign.
Kelly prevailed with 490,208 or 49% of the vote to Schmidt’s 470,243 or 47%. Pyle claimed 19,963 and Libertarian Seth Cordell took 10,854. Schmidt, the state’s three-term attorney general, received 90,000 fewer votes for governor than the average of five Kansas Republicans who won statewide office Nov. 8.
“Derek Schmidt didn’t perform,” said Pyle, a state senator from Hiawatha. “As much as Kansas desperately needed a conservative governor, the Republican Party gave us a candidate that could not and did not win. All said, Schmidt got the anti-Kelly vote. Period. The left-wing endorsements for Kelly gave her the win.”