Businessman Joins Race for Kansas Governor

by | August 29, 2017

By Jonathan Shorman

Mark Hutton, a Wichita businessman and former state representative, is joining a growing Republican field in the race for governor.

Hutton said late Monday he is running. He said he had filed paperwork to name a campaign treasurer, though the document had not yet appeared online on the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission website.

Hutton made his mark in the Kansas House as a conservative Republican who nevertheless broke with Gov. Sam Brownback to oppose a tax exemption for certain kinds of business income. He had previously said he was considering running as someone who could bridge the divide between the party's moderate and conservative wings.

"I have spent my life and career building all across Kansas, from schools to hospitals, churches and office buildings, keeping my word and getting the job done," Hutton said in a statement. "I'll lead the state the same way."

Hutton said in a brief phone interview that a formal announcement of his candidacy would come later.

Hutton, who owns a construction company, chose not to seek re-election to the Legislature last fall. This spring, lawmakers voted to eliminate the tax exemption that Hutton opposed.

Hutton is the seventh Republican to join the race. They include Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former state senator Jim Barnett, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, entrepreneur Ed O'Malley and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.

On the Democratic side, House Minority Leader Jim Ward, former Wichita mayor Carl Brewer and former state representative Josh Svaty are running.

Asked about joining an already-crowded field of candidates, Hutton said "my job is to tell my story and to be open honest and transparent" and if people choose him "I'd be honored."

(c)2017 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)