Carl Brewer counts on inclusive approach, experience as mayor to woo voters

Brewer, a former Wichita mayor, began his campaign on Feb. 20, 2017, exactly one month after Trump became president. He recounted coming home from work each day and listening to his wife, Cathy, tell him what Trump or Brownback had done that day.

“She said, ‘Something has to happen,’” Brewer said. “I said, ‘Well, Cathy, these are the only choices we have.’ And she said, ‘Are you planning on running?’

“So I was in the race.”

Now he may make history.

If Democratic voters choose him on Aug. 7 and he goes on to win the November general election, he would be the first black governor in Kansas history — potentially the only black governor in America.

He believes his time as mayor — where he said he sorted through problems by working with individual people and not just interest groups — makes him the best choice to lead Kansas during a polarized time.

“You don’t draw the line in the sand on issues. You include everybody, whether they’re Democratic, independent, Republican. I have friends of all parties that are very close to me, and that’s how you do that,” Brewer said.

“It’s about building relationships.”

On the campaign trail, Brewer seems to relish talking to voters.

At the Democratic picnic in Linn County, he arrived before any other candidate and began talking to early-comers.

An April poll conducted by Fort Hays State University found that Brewer had the highest name recognition among Democratic candidates, with 38 percent of respondents telling pollsters they had heard of him.

At a forum at a Missionary Baptist convention in Topeka in June, the candidates were asked whether they were comfortable with the state of race relations in America. Everyone said no.

“Just to be in an environment where we have this much nastiness and hatred and bigotry is beyond me. I’m just taken aback,” Brewer said.

Brewer said he doesn’t think about the historic nature of his candidacy should he win the race.

“But I am sensitive to it, that I believe Kansas should be a true reflection of the people who live there,” Brewer said. “And as I look at the Capitol today, we don’t have that.”

Read the entire Wichita Eagle feature article on Carl Brewer's historic run for governor here.