TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Republican Party has ended efforts to punish party officials who backed non-GOP candidates in last year’s elections and reversed any sanctions already imposed, its new leader announced Friday.

State Chair Mike Brown said in a statement that he and members of the Kansas party’s Loyalty Committee agreed on the actions, dropping or reversing about 40 cases initiated under Brown’s predecessor, Mike Kuckelman. The party’s state committee on Saturday narrowly elected Brown to lead the Kansas GOP through the 2024 elections, replacing Kuckelman, who retired.

“It is time to put the things that have divided our party behind us,” Brown said.

Top party officials pursued the sanctions following Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s narrow reelection in November. Many Republicans blamed state Sen. Dennis Pyle, of Hiawatha, for Kelly’s victory. Pyle is one of the Republican-controlled Legislature’s most conservative members and left the GOP to run for governor as an independent.

The Loyalty Committee moved to strip Republicans who backed Pyle and non-GOP candidates in other races of party positions, such as representing voting precincts in local GOP organizations. Kuckelman did suspend the sanctions in mid-November so the affected officials could appeal to the party’s larger Executive Committee.


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