In a surprising turn of events Tuesday night, incumbent Rep. Sam Brownback was re-elected governor of Kansas, beating Democrat Paul Davis after Brownback’s poll numbers had been slipping in the past few months. Davis and his running mate Jill Docking were unopposed in the Democratic nomination in August and were largely expected to win Tuesday night as they had been leading the majority of polling since early June, according to polling site Ballotpedia. The last round of Rasmussen polling had Davis in the lead with 52 percent and an earlier poll from Monmouth University gave him 50 percent of the vote.

A father to five children, Brownback is a former U.S. senator who was elected governor of Kansas in 2011 after withdrawing from the 2008 presidential race. His income tax cut plan nearly plunged the state into a budget deficit. The program he implemented exempted more than 190,000 businesses from paying income taxes and cut the top personal income tax bracket by 26 percent, according to KSN News. When the cuts kicked in, Standard & Poor’s warned that Kansas could be in for a budget deficit next year if the program was not stopped, Reuters reported.   

Brownback was also widely criticized when he signed three anti-abortion during his first year in office. The first included legislation that banned health insurance companies from covering abortions that were not essential to saving the woman’s life and a separate bill that prohibited abortions after 21 weeks, on the basis that the fetus could feel pain.


Davis is a father to a 3-year-old girl and husband to a psychologist who works with U.S. army vets. A founding partner of the law firm Fagan, Emert & Davis, Davis has nearly three decades of experience with corporate law.