Kansas independent Greg Orman is officially running for governor in Kansas. His campaign made the announcement Wednesday with the release of a new ad that outlines his vision for the state.
"We're at a time when our system is actually working against the interest of our citizens, and it is not working in large part because the two parties, and the politicians they support, are interested really in only one thing, and one thing alone, and that is staying in power," Orman says in the video.
Orman adds that this is why he is running for governor as an independent, which he says is about putting people first.
In the video, he explains that as a business leader and entrepreneur he knows what needs to be done to bring businesses and jobs to the state.
“I’ve been in those boardrooms when we’ve made decisions on where to locate companies, where to put plants and factories. I understand what it’s going to take to be able to bring those companies to Kansas,” Orman says. “The people of Kansas are innovators. The people of Kansas are hard-working, they’re strivers. They are leaders.”
This announcement comes nearly two months after Orman announced the launch of his exploratory committee in early December to test the waters and see if a run was viable. In three weeks, the committee raised nearly half a million dollars.
Orman's campaign says he took in more receipts from in-state contributors than all 7 Democrats running and more contributions from individual Kansas donors than all but two of the Republicans in the race -- candidates who have been campaigning longer.
Greg Orman launches his campaign with an advantage that most independent candidates nationwide do not have from the beginning, and that is established name recognition. Orman ran for US Senate in 2014, and nearly beat incumbent Republican Pat Roberts in a two-person race. He also has strong businesses relationships throughout Kansas and the US.
That is not to say the race will be easy. The two parties will do all they can to make this about them -- a race between red and blue. They -- along with their allies in the media -- will tell Kansas voters that any vote outside the two-party duopoly is a wasted vote. Republicans will accuse Orman of being a closet Democrat, while Democrats will say he is really a Republican.
The media and the parties are going to paint Orman as a spoiler as was evident in a conference call Monday morning when he was asked about being a spoiler for Secretary of State Kris Kobach (the likely Republican nominee) or the Democratic nominee.
"I am tired of the idea that only the two parties are entitled to govern," Orman responded. He added that nowhere in the Kansas constitution does it say only a Republican or a Democrat can be elected to office, and that he has witnessed a real hunger among Kansas voters for a candidate outside the Republican and Democratic Parties.
“There are more independent voters in Kansas than there are Democrats. We will have the resources. We will have the message that will appeal to Democrats, Republicans and independents. Ultimately, we will win this race," says Orman.
Media pundits consider Kansas to be a solid shade of red, but a monumental independent surge has exploded over the last few years, expanding from the local level to the state legislature, as voters express their frustration with the two-party system at the ballot box.
And Orman is at the forefront of this independent surge, so there may be an opening for him in this election to win. Kansas voters clearly want change, and there is a candidate now running for governor who is offering a tangible alternative to the duopolistic status quo.
Greg Orman's campaign said it will file all the appropriate paperwork to make the run official Wednesday and will roll out with a detailed policy agenda within the week.