TOPEKA, Kan. — A friend and former aide to Greg Orman says the Olathe businessman is considering running for Kansas governor next year as an independent candidate.

The Wichita Eagle report s that Jim Jonas said Monday that Orman has done preliminary polling and is interviewing campaign staff but hasn’t made a final decision.

Jonas managed Orman’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014 as an independent candidate against Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

Roberts won by nearly 11 percentage points, but Orman received almost 43 percent of the vote after Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out.

An independent candidate for governor must gather signatures from 5,000 registered voters to appear on the November 2018 ballot.

The governor’s race already is crowded with 18 announced candidates, including 11 Republicans and five Democrats.

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,