Governors race

52.55Poll avg.
CandidatePredicted Vote %Win Prob.
Laura Kelly49.5%47%
Derek Schmidt50.5%53%

About Kansas

Kansas, also known as the Sunflower State, is located in the Midwest and has population of almost 3 million people. Of the fifty states, it is the 36th most populous. The economy of Kansas relies on agriculture -- mainly wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. This state is predominantly white, with 86% of the population identifying this way. It is comprised of 105 counties and is strongly Republican.


Laura Kelly (D)

Image of Laura Kelly Source: governor.kansas.gov

Derek Schmidt (R)

Image of Derek Schmidt Source: ag.ks.gov

Before Laura Kelly’s election as governor, she represented Kansas’s 18th district in the Senate starting in 2005. She has been serving as Kansas’s 48th governor since 2019. Her political career was preceded by a role as executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association. She is running with David Toland as lieutenant governor. She is a moderate Democrat who claims to be “middle-of-the-road”, which has helped her in such a solidly red state as Kansas.

Prior to his career as a politician, Derek Schmidt served as counsel to the governor of Kansas, as a legislative assistant to Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, and as an assistant attorney general. He represented Kansas’s 15th district between 2001 and 2011, at which point he became attorney general. He has held the position since. He is running with Katie Sawyer as lieutenant governor.


In the primaries, Laura Kelly won by a landslide, beating her opponent with 96% of the vote.

Derek Schmidt beat his opponent in the Republican primary with 78% of the vote.

Issues & controversies

Top issues in this race include the economy — mainly inflation and tax cuts — education, and abortion rights. Another issue that has recently come into the limelight for this race is transgender women in sports: In 2021 and 2022, Laura Kelly vetoed bills that would have banned transgender athletes in schools from participating on their preferred teams, and Republicans have used this as a point against her, aiming to influence swing voters to go for Schmidt instead. Throughout the campaign, Schmidt has criticized Kelly for her closing of schools at the beginning of the pandemic; Kelly, on the other hand, has made claims that Schmidt will be another Governor Brownback — Kansas’s 46th governor who damaged the state’s economy with excessive tax cuts and was one of the least popular governors in the country at the end of his tenure.

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Chance of winning over time

We run our model twice a day. Explore how our prediction has changed over the course of the race.


Recent polls

Polls consist of polls ranked C- and above gathered by FiveThirtyEight.

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