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KLC Founder Ed O’Malley Announces Bid For Kansas Governor

Hugo Phan
KMUW/File Photo

A former state lawmaker is making it official on Tuesday that he’s in the race to become the next governor of Kansas.

Republican Ed O’Malley is holding seven events around the state Tuesday and Thursday to launch his campaign.

Ed O’Malley held a listening tour with town hall meetings and roundtable discussions throughout the state earlier this year.

"They want to come and they want to be heard," O’Malley says. "Too many people in public life don’t understand that and don’t appreciate the wisdom that exists in the voices of Kansans."

O’Malley says those meetings helped shape his campaign platform on education, on the government workforce and on collaborative leadership.

He represented Kansas House District 24 in Johnson County for two terms and also worked for former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

O’Malley left the state legislature ten years ago to create the non-profit Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. He’s currently on leave from his role as KLC president and CEO.

The KLC offers training in strategic planning, community organizing and advocacy.

He joins a growing field of candidates in the governor’s race, including at least nine Republican challengers. He says having competition will be good for Kansas.

"The current path we’re on is not leading us to the type of Kansas, the type of state, the type of communities that we want for ourselves and our children," O’Malley says.

Kansas doesn't set age qualifications to run for governor. Four teenagers from suburban Kansas City and Wichita already have announced plans to run in 2018. Three of the teen candidates are Republicans; the other is a Democrat.

The filing deadline for Democratic and Republican contenders is June 1, 2018.

Current list of 2018 Gubernatorial Candidates:

Republican Field:

  • Former state senator, and 2006 gubernatorial nominee, Jim Barnett
  • Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer
  • Wichita businessman Wink Hartman
  • Secretary of State Kris Kobach
  • Leawood businessman Patrick Kucera
  • Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer
  • Former state representative Mark Hutton
  • Former state representative Ed O’Malley
  • Kansas City, KS high school student Dominic Scavuzzo
  • Prairie Village high school student Tyler Ruzich
  • Wichita high school student Ethan Randleas

Democratic Field:

  • Olathe physician Arden Andersen
  • Wichita high school student Jack Bergeson
  • Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer
  • Former state Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty
  • House Democratic Leader Jim Ward

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.