Case Study

Laura Kelly for Governor

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Kansas is one of America’s most conservative states — Trump carried it by over 20 points. But in 2018, the people of Kansas voted for Democrat Laura Kelly to be its next Governor – defeating Trump ally Kris Kobach in an upset that U.S. News called “one of the biggest Democratic victories of the night.” How did she do it?

First, Governor Kelly had to win a primary against several tough Democratic opponents. Governor Brownback’s disastrous tax experiment had decimated Kansas’ public schools, and we knew that education was the top issue for voters. Given that Gov. Kelly had devoted much of her life to education and children’s issues, the issue was deeply personal to her.

In the general election, Kelly stayed focused on Kansas issues and worked to make the race a referendum on Brownback’s terrible record and Kobach’s support for it.  Kobach tried to run the Trump playbook on divisive national issues.

SKDKnickerbocker produced a series of ads that framed the choice for voters on Kelly’s terms.

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Kelly knew she needed support from moderate Republicans in order to win. As a State Senator, she had built a reputation for working across the aisle to get results – a big reason why dozens of Republican officials endorsed her.

At the end, Kelly won a hard-fought race and SKDK was proud to help her get there.