Kansas AG seeks to establish residency requirement for gubernatorial candidates

Kansas AG seeks to establish residency requirement for gubernatorial candidates

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt [official website] filed a lawsuit [text, pdf] on Tuesday in state court seeking a declaration that residency is a requirement for gubernatorial candidacy in the state. The suit comes as 10 non-residents [campaign finance materials] have taken the steps to run in the 2018 Kansas governor race.

Schmidt argues in the suit that, while there is no specific language in Kansas law explicitly requiring residency, several statutes taken together establish the legislative intent that gubernatorial candidates must be residents of the state. One cited requirement of a nomination petition specifies that a candidate must include city of residence, and “state of Kansas.” Another, the Governors of Kansas Hometown Heritage Act [KS Stat § 75-5072 text], authorizes the Kansas Department of Transportation to install signs in the hometowns of Kansas governors.

Schmidt argues for certainty [press release], saying that “having one or more ineligible candidates on the ballot could inject confusion and uncertainty into the election outcome, particularly if the election is close. It’s better for Kansans to know from the courts the answer to the residency question before the ballot is set and the votes for governor are cast.”

The Kansas legislature gave initial approval in February to an age requirement for gubernatorial candidacy after several teenagers declared their candidacy[KC Star report], although the requirement will not be in effect for the 2018 election.