The contest over who would fill the party’s top administrative post offered a new illustration of the GOP infighting despite calls by Brown and Helen Van Etten to seek unity if chosen to replace chairman Mike Kuckelman, a lawyer who served four years as president. Before the party meeting, Kuckelman accused Brown of not being conservative enough on abortion and gun rights. During his nomination speech, Brown returned fire by declaring himself “pro-life” and “pro-2A.”
Van Etten’s base in the 2nd and 4th congressional districts was pitted against Brown’s dominance in the 3rd district in the Kansas City area. In a packed convention hall, it took at least 90 votes from the 179 accredited delegates to prevail. Manual ballot counting settled the matter: Brown, 90; Van Etten, 88 years old. One ballot was declared “flawed,” because apparently someone voted for both candidates.
Brown, a real estate developer from Overland Park, lost a re-election campaign for the Johnson County Commission in 2020 and failed in the Republican primary for Kansas secretary of state in 2022. He bounced back by surviving one of the tightest races for the party chairman in state history.
“As Republicans,” Brown said, “we are not the party of fairness and right. We are the party of excellence and hard work.”
He urged GOP delegates to support his candidacy and work to overhaul the organization to make Republicans more competitive, especially in the 3rd District. Her mission is to end the career of Democratic United States Representative Sharice Davis, who is serving her third term representing the Kansas City area. She also wants to flip the governor’s office in 2026 after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s back-to-back victories over Republicans Kris Kobach and Derek Schmidt.
“We just can’t keep doing the same things over and over and believe that somehow it’s going to turn out differently,” Brown said. “We will recover the governor’s post. We will recover the CD3. We will take control of this mess.
Lynn Rogers, a former Democratic lieutenant governor and state treasurer, said Brown’s election meant the Kansas GOP “made their bed and must lie down in the conspiracy-laden nightmare of their own making.”
Brown called for the resignation of RNC president Ronna McDaniel. In public appearances, Brown said there should be no room in the state’s Republican Party for RINOS or what he described as “milquetoasts, Republicans in name only, bad Republicans.” He also has a record of promoting election conspiracy theories that President Donald Trump had his 2020 re-election stolen from him due to fraudulent activity.
After Brown took his position on stage, GOP delegates debated but introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Joe Biden. The request centered on concern over Biden’s alleged endorsement of social media companies censoring conservative comments on COVID-19 and vaccines to counter the pandemic.
Brown, who was backed by former U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp, said the Kansas GOP would be a fundraising machine, become more unified and develop databases to help candidates win. He would expand the state party’s role in elections to include local school board races and city council campaigns. It was essential to expand Republican supermajorities in the Kansas House and Kansas Senate, he said.
Brown was nominated for president by Calvin Hayden, the Johnson County Sheriff. Hayden complained that he never received financial support from the state party in his campaigns for sheriff.
“That can’t happen,” Hayden said. “We have to help our people on a grassroots level. We have to fight. We need to make sure we have people with conservative values.”