KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jeff Colyer announced late Tuesday that he would concede in the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Kansas.
Colyer hoped to gain more votes over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after more than 1,000 provisional votes were counted in Johnson County.
But after the provisional ballots were counted in Johnson County, Kobach's lead grew.
Currently, Kobach has a 345 vote lead. Wyandotte, Shawnee and 18 other counties must still certify their votes.
Colyer said he does not intend to call for a recount or begin a legal battle. He also endorsed Kobach in his announcement and said he hopes he is the next governor of Kansas.
"We will make sure the next governor is fully prepared and I hope he is a Republican," Colyer said.
Colyer briefly got emotional as he thanked the Kansans who voted for him, his campaign volunteers, his staff in the governor's officer, Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann and his family.
"I am very proud of the work we have done in the past six months and of the hopeful optimistic message we shared in this campaign," Colyer said.
Colyer said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve and will remain dedicated during his remaining months in office.
"There is no greater blessing than the opportunity for service and over these remaining few months we again pledge ourselves to the people of Kansas," Colyer said. "We will tell the truth, we will seek solutions, and we will govern with best interests of Kansans at heart."
In a statement Tuesday evening, Kobach thanked Colyer for a hard-fought campaign:
"He was incredibly gracious, and that meant a lot after such a hard-fought campaign," Kobach said. "I want to thank Gov. Jeff Colyer for a race well run. He was a worthy opponent, and I thank him sincerely for his service to the state of Kansas. I will work hard to advance our shared values, and I look forward to working with Governor Colyer and all Republicans to keep Kansas red in November."
Thank you Governor Colyer for your gracious call this evening offering your endorsement to #TeamKobach for Kansas Governor. I look forward to working with Governor Colyer and all Republicans to keep Kansas red in November! #ksleg #ksgov #MAGA #MKGA pic.twitter.com/Kk10LrbAK1
— Kris W. Kobach (@KrisKobach1787) August 15, 2018
Kansas Sen. Laura Kelly, the Democratic nominee for governor, said if Kobach were governor, he would bring back the "disastrous policies" of former Gov. Sam Brownback.
"Kansas families have already suffered enough under Sam Brownback’s reckless policies. The last thing we need is a Governor like Kris Kobach, who has pledged to bring back the same disastrous policies that created this mess.
"With Kris Kobach as Governor, Kansans get all of the failed policies of Sam Brownback plus Kobach’s unique brand of hyper-partisanship and self-promotion. Quite simply, Kris Kobach is Sam Brownback on steroids, and that’s the last thing that Kansans need right now.
"Kansans have made it very clear, they want to slam the door on the failed Brownback experiment that Kris Kobach represents. They want strong schools, good jobs, balanced budgets without new taxes, and a growing economy.
"These are the priorities that I will bring back to the governor’s office. After years of crisis and turmoil, Kansans want the steady and experienced leadership that I bring to the table. I'm ready to bring Kansans together to rebuild our state."
Greg Orman, an independent candidate running for Kansas governor, said he's happy for the resolution.
"It's great to actually finally know who we're running against and we've said from the beginning that our campaign is the only one that can really appeal broadly to Democrats, Republicans and independents," Orman said.