Sara Hart Weir joins crowded Kansas state treasurer race, with four Republicans vying to face Lynn Rogers

Jason Tidd
Topeka Capital-Journal
Sara Hart Weir is running for Kansas state treasurer.

Campaigning as a "conservative CEO and outsider," Sara Hart has joined the crowded race for Kansas state treasurer.

Weir is running in part on her experience as a CEO. She was formerly the top executive at the National Down Syndrome Society.

"One of my proudest accomplishments," Weir said of her time as CEO, "is leading the effort to pass the bipartisan and landmark Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act with 85% of the entire Congress, supporting a tax savings for people with disabilities, their families as well as their caregivers."

The Republican from Overland Park announced her campaign in a Monday email, following a Facebook announcement last week.

While Weir's statements focused on a potential general election against incumbent Treasurer Lynn Rogers and his role in Gov. Laura Kelly's administration, she will first face a growing GOP primary field.

She called Rogers a "career politician" and "Gov. Kelly's liberal crony."

"While Rogers spends his time protecting Gov. Kelly, I will fight for Kansas, you, and your family," Weir said.

Rogers, a Wichita Democrat, spent more than 30 years as an agriculture banker before retiring in 2016. He served on the Wichita school board before being elected to the Kansas Senate in 2016. He was Kelly's running mate and lieutenant governor from 2019 to 2021, when Kelly appointed him treasurer when Jake LaTurner resigned the office after his election to Congress.

Kelly's decision to appoint a Democrat to a position held by a Republican irked her political opponents.

"Governor Kelly appointed Rogers in 2019, ignoring the wishes of Kansas voters who wanted a conservative as the state's CFO," Weir said in her announcement, which had the wrong year of the appointment.

Weir previously ran for the 3rd Congressional District, representing the suburban Kansas City area. She lost the 2020 primary to Amanda Adkins, who lost in the general to Sharice Davids.

Crowded field includes Caryn Tyson, Steven Johnson and Michael Austin

The 2022 Republican primary for Treasurer features state Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, state Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, and Michael Austin, a former staffer at the conservative think tank Kansas Policy Institute and economic adviser for former Gov. Sam Brownback.

The treasurer's office typically manages more mundane financial aspects of state government, though its unclaimed property division has the public-facing role of tracking down Kansans who are owed money.

The position has also been used as a launch pad for higher political office. Three of the last four state treasurers were later elected to Congress.

Weir said she would follow the examples of those three treasurers — LaTurner, Ron Estes and Lynn Jenkins — and be a "solutions-oriented leader."

Her campaign promises a "renewed focus on government transparency" by launching a "Kansas Checkbook program, shining a bright light on how Kansas spends your money."

Her candidate campaign paperwork was filed with the secretary of state's office on Aug. 9.