In a news release, Colyer said he was tapping Mary Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower, to serve as his campaign treasurer, the strongest signal yet that he will enter a potentially crowded Republican primary field.
“Kansas made a mistake in 2018, and it’s time to fix that mistake,” Eisenhower, the former chair of the humanitarian non-profit founded by her grandfather, said in a statement. “Jeff Colyer is the man for the moment.”
Colyer, who served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Sam Brownback, was promoted to the governorship in 2018 after Brownback left for an ambassadorship under then-President Donald Trump.
He ran in the 2018 Republican primary in a bid for a full four-year term but lost to Secretary of State Kris Kobach by a razor-thin margin. Gov. Laura Kelly defeated Kobach in the general election, which many attributed to his controversial conservative background.
Prior to serving as governor, Colyer worked as a surgeon in Overland Park and has heavily leaned on his medical credentials in his campaign materials. He also was a state legislator from 2007 to 2011.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is widely figured as a top challenger to Kelly, told the conservative news site Townhall earlier this week that “we’re looking seriously” at a run.
“As I’ve visited with people, I’ve been really very honored that so many Kansans have encouraged me to run,” Schmidt said. “I’ll have more to say about that once I’ve made a decision.
Other potential candidates include Wink Hartman, who served as Kobach’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, and former Senate President Susan Wagle.