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New Yorker Tossed From the Race for Kansas Governor

Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker (left) and Attorney General Derek Schmidt during the meeting Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The State Objections Board said with a 2-1 vote Tuesday that New Yorker Andy Maskin can’t run for the state’s highest office because he doesn’t live in Kansas.

Maskin paid a fee and filed to run for governor earlier this month. A Kansas Republican Party official challenged his candidacy on the basis of his New York City address.

Several other out-of-state candidates have created campaign committees, but haven’t yet officially filed.

The fact that Kansas currently has no statutory limits on eligibility has attracted teenagers and candidates like Maskin from other states.

“There’s no specific, clear statute that has that residency requirement,” Maskin said during the hearing Tuesday.

Maskin and Attorney General Derek Schmidt wanted the Objections Board to wait before making a decision. Schmidt — a member of the board along with the lieutenant governor and secretary of state —  has already filed a lawsuit to block all out-of-state candidates from the 2018 ballot. A judge in Shawnee County could rule soon.

“It’s already before the court and already being sorted out,” Maskin said.

Brant Laue, chief counsel for the governor’s office, sitting in the place of the lieutenant governor, moved to instead strike the New Yorker from the ballot.

“Kansans have the good common sense to understand that the person running to be their governor should be a fellow Kansan,” Laue said.

Eric Rucker, representing Secretary of State Kris Kobach at the hearing, said Maskin should stay on the ballot.

Schmidt joined Laue in voting to disqualify him from running.

Schmidt said there may not be clear rules in state law, but he argued lawmakers intended for gubernatorial candidates to be Kansas residents, and there is a residency requirement for candidates gathering signatures to petition their way onto the ballot.

“There’s good reason for that. It deals with familiarity. It deals with understanding of the people and the issues. It deals with accountability,” Schmidt said after the meeting. “Until this year, that’s what everybody assumed the rule was in Kansas and nobody seemed particularly disgruntled by it.”

It’s not clear whether Maskin will appeal the board’s decision in court.

A new state law will prevent this situation in the future. It bars anyone not qualified to vote in Kansas — including out-of-staters — from running for governor starting next year.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

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