State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates announced today that he won’t be a candidate for governor.
Gates, an attorney and president of Rockgate Management, a hospitality firm, said he couldn’t leave his business to campaign.
“We owe it to our investors, our loyal employees, our customers and our family to give our fullest attention to weathering this severe business downturn,” Gates said in a letter to supporters that was released by the party. “I would owe it to … all Kansans to run an aggressive, full-time campaign on the issues. The reality is, I cannot do both.”
With a little more than a year to go to the 2010 election, Democrats have yet to find a solid candidate to oppose Sen. Sam Brownback, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Former Lt. Gov. John Moore of Wichita and Sen. Chris Steineger of Kansas City have expressed interest, but neither has announced a formal campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Party spokesman Tyler Longpine said Gates will be speaking with some potential candidates who are considering running but stood aside awaiting Gates’ decision.
“From among those individuals a great nominee will emerge to challenge the Washington insider whose campaign advisors would have you believe this race is over,” Gates said in his letter. “The reality is the campaign has yet to begin.”