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Kansas GOP challenger: Secretary of State Kobach “neither wants the job nor is very good at it”

Imagine 2050 Staff • May 27, 2014

Kris Kobach, out-of-state, visiting Joe Arpaio

Provided they aren’t one of the thousands with their registrations ‘in suspense,’ Kansas voters will be able to decide in August if they want Kobach to be the Republican nominee for secretary of state

Within the anti-immigrant movement, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has held a significant position of influence across the United States. In Kansas, members of his own political party no longer want him in office.

Scott Morgan, a publisher and lawyer who has previously worked for Kansas Republican senators Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum, announced Wednesday he would challenge Kobach in an August primary election. “I believe I’m uniquely qualified for this position,” Morgan said. “And I believe the incumbent, Mr. Kobach, neither wants the job nor is very good at it.”

As is often the case with candidates looking to upend incumbents, campaign finance figures are not on Morgan’s side. However, he is confident Kobach’s record of frequently spending time out of state drafting and defending anti-immigrant and voter suppression laws will work his favor. Citing Kobach’s record, Morgan said:

Kobach “has provided me with a gift most candidates don’t provide their opponents… He has provided me with several hundred thousands of dollars of negative ads without me running them just by doing what he does.”

The primary challenge comes at a time when Kobach has faced several setbacks and increased criticism.

Last week, a federal judge once again ruled that the Electoral Assistance Commission does not have to comply with voter suppression law Kobach authored for Arizona and Kansas. In response to this decision, Kobach once again asserted he would instate a two-tiered system that could prevent thousands of Kansans from voting in local elections.

“This is not who we are as Kansans or Republicans,” Morgan said of Kobach’s voter suppression efforts. “Frankly, he’s become a bully.”

Recent allegations of impropriety surrounding Kobach’s stake in a new gun manufacturer have also marred his reputation in Kansas. The company, Minuteman Defense, stands to gain from a law Kobach drafted and lobbied in 2013 that frees guns manufactured in Kansas from any federal regulations.

In addition to his recent voter suppression efforts, Kobach still, of course, serves as the face of arguably the country’s harshest anti-immigrant laws, including Arizona’s SB 1070. Earlier this month, Kobach revisited that state to attend a fundraiser supporting the reelection campaign of Arizona’s scandal-riddled Attorney General Tom Horne. Kobach was photographed alongside the staunchly anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A challenge to Kobach is a challenge to the extremist policies he has advocated across the country. Shortly after Morgan’s announcement, Mary Sanchez of The Kansas City Star noted this, writing, “A rare bird was spotted in Kansas on Wednesday: the moderate Republican, a variety of politician elected on the virtues of solid governance on issues affecting Kansans, working across the aisle and avoiding wasting time on culture war issues.”

Provided they aren’t one of the thousands with their registrations “in suspense” due to his policies, Kansas voters will be able to decide if they want Kobach to be the Republican nominee for secretary of state in August. Come November, let’s hope voters in The Sunflower State will again see such a “rare bird” on the ballot.

Image source: Phoenix New Times/Stephen Lemons

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