Sam Brownback

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Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback.png
Governor of Kansas
In office
January 10, 2011 - Present
Term ends
January 2015
Years in position 4
PredecessorMark V. Parkinson (D)
Base salary$99,636
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$3,569,073
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
United States Senator
November 5, 1996- January 3, 2011
United States House of Representatives
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture
High schoolPrairie View High School
Bachelor'sKansas State University (1978)
J.D.University of Kansas Law School (1982)
Date of birthSeptember 12, 1956
Place of birthGarnett, Kansas
ProfessionAttorney, Farmer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Sam Brownback (b. September 12, 1956, in Garnett, Kansas) is the 46th and current Republican Governor of Kansas. He was first elected to the governorship in 2010. He faced Joan Heffington in the August 3, 2010 primary, winning with 82% of the vote, and went on to defeat Tom Holland (D), Andrew P. Gray (L), and Ken Cannon (Reform) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[1] He was sworn into office on January 10, 2011, for a four year term expiring in January of 2015.

Brownback was eligible for re-election, and ran for a second term as Governor of Kansas in the 2014 elections.[2] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Prior to becoming governor, Brownback served in a number of elected government offices. Most recently, he was the senior U.S. senator for Kansas from 1996-2011, having won a special election to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. Bob Dole (R). He was re-elected to a full term in 2004. He ascended to the U.S. Senate out of the U.S. House, to which he was elected by voters from Kansas' 2nd congressional district in 1994. Brownback began his political career in 1986, when he became the youngest individual to be elected Kansas Secretary of Agriculture in the state's history.[3]

Brownback is a licensed attorney. He practiced law in Manhattan, Kansas between his graduation from law school in 1982 and his election to the statewide office of agriculture secretary. During his tenure as secretary, Brownback did double duty as a White House Fellow under the administration of George H.W. Bush.[3]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Brownback as the 12th most conservative governor in the country.[4]


Sam Brownback is a fourth generation Kansan. Born in Garnett, he grew up on a farm in Linn County where his parents still live. He was elected student body president as an undergraduate and then president of his law school class by his fellow students. At Kansas State, he also joined the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.[3]

After college, Sam spent a year in broadcasting, hosting a weekly show. He graduated from law school in 1982 and worked as a private practice attorney in Manhattan, Kansas for four years before being elected as Kansas' Secretary of Agriculture in 1986. He first went to Washington as a White House Fellow under the George H.W. Bush Administration. From 1990-1991, he was detailed to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Upon completion of his fellowship, Brownback returned to Kansas and resumed his secretarial office.[3]

Brownback holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from Kansas State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas Law School.


  • Bachelor's of Science in Agricultural Economics - Kansas State University (1978)
  • Juris Doctor - University of Kansas Law School, J.D. (1982)

Political career

Governor of Kansas (2011-Present)

Brownback assumed office as Kansas' 46th governor on January 10, 2011, following his victory in the November 2, 2010 general election.

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Brownback was ranked number 25. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[5][6]

Twitter 'overreaction'

In November 2011, 18-year old high school senior Emma Sullivan attended a Kansas Youth in Government event in Topeka, which featured Brownback. During the event, Sullivan posted a tweet that said, "Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot." The governor's office notified event organizers about the tweet, who notified Sullivan's school. According to Sullivan, the principal ordered her to write apology letters to Brownback, the Youth in Government sponsor and others.[7]

The issue received national attention, eventually resulting in an apology from Brownback to Sullivan. He released a statement, saying, "My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future. I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction."[8]

Voter ID

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a law in April 2011 requiring voters to produce a photo ID before casting a ballot instead of the previous protocol of producing a signature to verify identification at the polls, starting January 1, 2013.

“This is a modest, prudent measure. You show photo ID to cash a check, you show one to get on a plane, it’s something people are used to doing,” Brownback said. “It’s a modest and important measure to ensure the sanctity of the vote.”[9]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Sam Brownback endorsed Rick Perry in the 2012 presidential election. [10]

U.S. Senate (1996-2011)

Brownback served in the U.S. Senate from 1996-2011.

U.S. House of Representatives (1995-1996)

Brownback was served one term in the United States House of Representatives, from 1995-1996.

He entered Congress as the Representative for Kansas' 2nd District in 1993 and, in 1996, moved to the Senate in a special election for Bob Dole's seat. He served as the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and also sat on the Homeland Security Subcommittee, the Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, more casually known as the Helsinki Commission.[3]



See also: Kansas gubernatorial election, 2014

Brownback was eligible for re-election, and ran for a second term as Governor of Kansas in the 2014 elections. The general election took place November 4, 2014.[2]


See also: Kansas gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Governor Elect Sam Brownback's acceptance speech

Brownback defeated Joan Heffington in the August 3 primary, winning with 82% of the vote.

Brownback faced and won over Tom Holland (D), Andrew P. Gray (L), and Ken Cannon (Reform) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[11]

Kansas Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSam Brownback 63.3% 530,760
     Democratic Tom Holland 32.2% 270,166
     Libertarian Andrew P. Gray 2.7% 22,460
     Reform Party Ken Cannon 1.8% 15,397
     Write-in Heath Charles Morris 0% 7
Total Votes 838,790
Election Results via Kansas Secretary of State


In the gubernatorial debate on October 7, 2010 on KWCH all four candidates for Kansas governor said they were against the statewide smoking ban and the hypocrisy of exempting the state-owned casinos from the ban.

Brownback stated:

I think they need to be left to local units of government as well, but I’ll tell you something else that we ought to do, that’s to put the ban on the state-owned facilities. That’s where the ban ought to be on in the first place, is the state should lead by example and not exempting itself by something like this. That smoking ban ought to be on the state facilities and leave the other issues to the local control. That’s the best way a state can lead, doing this to itself and leading by example rather than putting it on somebody else, a burden somewhere else.[12]


Brownback won re-election to the United States Senate in 2004, defeating Lee Jones (D), Steven A. Rosile (L), and George Cook.[13]

United States Senate General Election, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSam Brownback Incumbent 69.2% 780,863
     Democratic Lee Jones 27.5% 310,337
     Libertarian Steven A. Rosile 1.9% 21,842
     Reform Party George Cook 1.4% 15,980
Total Votes 1,129,022

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Brownback is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Brownback raised a total of $3,569,073 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[14]

Sam Brownback's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Kansas* Not up for election $408,087
2010 Governor of Kansas* Won $3,160,986
Grand Total Raised $3,569,073
*These funds were raised for a joint ticket with lieutenant governor running mate Jeff Colyer.


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Sam Brownback's donors each year.[15] Click [show] for more information.


Sam and Mary Brownback live in Topeka with their five children; Abby, Andy, Liz, Mark and Jenna. Two of their children are adopted. Raised as a Methodist, Brownback first converted to evangelical Protestantism and then, in 2002, to Catholicism. He still regularly attends a non-denominational church.[16]

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. "Brownback: “A clean sweep for a new beginning,"" Kansas Watchdog, November 3, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial races," March 4, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Kansas Governor, "Governor Sam Brownback," accessed September 15, 2012
  4. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  5. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  6. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  7. Talking Points Memo, "Brownback Complaint About Student Tweet Lands Kansas Teenager In Principal’s Office," November 25, 2011
  8. Huffington Post, "Emma Sullivan Receives Apology From Sam Brownback For 'Overreaction' To Tweet," November 28, 2011
  9. "Brownback signs voter ID into Kansas law," Kansas Reporter, April 18, 2011
  10. Reuters, "Kansas conservative governor Brownback endorses Perry," September 22, 2011
  11. "Brownback: “A clean sweep for a new beginning,"" Kansas Watchdog, November 3, 2010
  12. "Governor Candidates Against Statewide Smoking Ban, Casino Hypocrisy," Kansas Watchdog, October 7, 2010
  13. Kansas Secretary of State, "2004 general election results," accessed August 29, 2012
  14. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer," accessed July 11, 2013
  15. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  16. Project Vote Smart, "Governor Samuel 'Sam' D. Brownback's Biography," accessed July 31, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark V. Parkinson (D)
Kansas Governor
January 10, 2011 - Present
Succeeded by