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Politics

Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Barnett Shut Out Of GOP Debate

062017_Barnett2_PHOTO.jpg
Jim McLean
/
Kansas News Service/File photo

When the Republican candidates for governor take to the debate stage Saturday in Wichita, there won’t be a place for Jim Barnett.

The former state senator was barred from participating because he refused to sign debate rules drafted by the party.

State GOP officials say the rules are needed to ensure a civil discussion. But Barnett says the party is protecting Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach from tough questions.

"We shouldn’t be afraid of tough questions," Barnett says. "I think it was done by design to protect a few individuals and I think that’s very wrong for our state."

Barnett, a Topeka doctor, was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2006, but lost to former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

The Kansas Republican Party is sponsoring the debate as part of its annual meeting.

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Jim McLean is managing director of KMUW's Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics in Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @jmcleanks.

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