U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann backs former running mate Jeff Colyer for governor

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan., is backing his old running mate, former Gov. Jeff Colyer, in the 2022 governor's race, Colyer's campaign announced Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan., is backing his old running mate — former Gov. Jeff Colyer — in the 2022 governor's race, Colyer's campaign announced Wednesday.

The move is hardly a surprise. Before Mann won election to represent the 1st Congressional District in Washington, he served as Colyer's lieutenant governor between 2018 and 2019, after Colyer himself rose to the governor's mansion following former Gov. Sam Brownback's appointment as ambassador-at-large for religious freedom under President Donald Trump.

Mann touted Colyer's work for the agricultural community during his governorship, a nod to Mann's mostly rural U.S. House district.

“Kansas families and Kansas small businesses have seen first hand the damage Gov. Kelly has done to our beloved state," Mann said in a statement. "Gov. Colyer is a conservative fighter who puts Kansas Republicans in the best position to get a conservative back in Cedar Crest.”

Mann joins U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., in backing Colyer's campaign. Before getting elected to the U.S. Senate last year, Marshall represented the Big First Congressional District for four years.

While many former allies of Brownback have followed Mann's path in backing Colyer for another stint in the governorship, there have been some defectors.

Previously:The Kansas governor's race heats up with a key endorsement. Here's what to know.

Steve Baccus, a former president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, backed Colyer's main rival, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in April. Baccus served as chair of Colyer's campaign in 2018.

While Colyer and Schmidt seem likely to be the main foes vying to take on Gov. Laura Kelly next fall, it is likely more Republican candidates will enter the fray. Those said to be weighing a bid include Wink Hartman, a Wichita oilman and former lieutenant governor candidate during Kris Kobach's ill-fated 2018 gubernatorial run.