Contentious Kris Kobach claims Kansas GOP primary
Nearly a week after voters in Kansas went to the polls for its primary election, the GOP race for governor has been resolved.
Tuesday night, incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer officially conceded the primary to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after results left the race too close to call.
As of Tuesday night, Colyer trailed Kobach by 345 votes unofficially after several counties in the state counted provisional ballots. Despite still winning the state’s most populous county — Johnson County — by 6 percentage points, Kobach was still able to pick up a few more votes than Colyer.
“I just had a conversation with the secretary of state and congratulated him on his success, and I repeated my determination to keep this seat in Republican hands. This election is probably the closest in America. But the numbers are just not there unless we were to go to extraordinary measures,” Colyer said, as quoted by The Wichita Eagle.
Colyer assumed the governor’s seat Sam Brownback (R) — a former U.S. Senator from Kansas — was appointed an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom by President Donald Trump.
Trump tweeted support for Kobach — who also serves as vice chairman of the president’s election integrity commission. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted his congratulations for Kobach securing the nomination.
My friend and very early supporter Kris Kobach won the Republican Nomination for Governor of Kansas last night in a tough race against a very fine opponent. Kris will win in November and be a great Governor. He has my complete and total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2018
Kobach has been a contentious figure both in Kansas and nationally as the national integrity commission was unable to find any evidence of Trump’s claim that there were illegal votes cast during the 2016 presidential election.
Kobach has also taken a hard line on immigration. In July, a judge ruled that a requirement for Kansans to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote was illegal. The judge also ordered Kobach to sit through six hours of legal education classes for “repeated and flagrant violations of discovery and disclosure rules.”
Democrats in the traditionally red state view Kobach’s win as the opening of the door to allow a Democrat to win the governorship for the first time since Kathleen Sebelius was elected in 2003. Sebelius later was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services by then-President Barack Obama.
Kobach will now face longtime state Sen. Laura Kelly (D) and Independent Greg Orman, a businessman, in the November general election.
Matthew Clark is an Editor-at-Large for theDailyLead.