Dennis Taylor said the other Republicans running for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District are embroiled in party politics and not focusing on the issue of the moment, which he says is economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Everything else is pretty secondary," he said.


Taylor, a former Shawnee County commissioner and state cabinet secretary, is one of three Republicans running for the 2nd Congressional District seat. He is facing incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins and Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner in the Aug. 4 primary.


The state’s 2nd Congressional District encompasses much of Eastern Kansas including all of Leavenworth County.


Taylor said people should not become complacent about COVID-19.


"And right now I think we are," he said.


Taylor proposes creating an ramped-up testing and tracing program that he says will provide jobs for the unemployed.


Taylor, who currently operates a small business in Topeka, served in two cabinet positions under former Gov. Mike Hayden. Taylor also served as the chief of staff for the Hayden administration.


Taylor also served as the secretary of the Department of Administration under former Gov. Sam Brownback.


Taylor also served as an adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development.


Taylor’s Republican primary opponents were in the news this past week.


Watkins was charged with felonies and a misdemeanor in Shawnee County in connection to an investigation into whether he voted in the wrong Topeka City Council district last year.


The Watkins campaign has accused LaTurner of colluding with the prosecutor to impact the primary race.


Taylor argues a Republican needs votes from independents in order to win in the 2nd Congressional District. And he expressed skepticism that the campaigns of Watkins and LaTurner can attract the needed independent voters.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR