There's a good reason so many red-state Republicans are urging voters to choose the Democrat.

Prominent heartland Republicans are sprinting away from Kris Kobach’s controversial bid to become the next governor of Kansas.

On Thursday, the state’s former GOP governor, Mike Hayden, publicly endorsed Kobach’s Democratic opponent, Laura Kelly.

“After eight years of crisis, we cannot elect someone who wants to repeat the disasters of the past,” Hayden said in a statement. “Kris Kobach has promised to do just that — risking the future of our great state.”

The announcement marks a dramatic step for Hayden.

“I’ve been a registered Republican for over 50 years,” he said. “I seldom vote for Democratic candidates, but in this race, I strongly support Laura Kelly.”

Hayden’s move comes after another former Republican governor of the state, Bill Graves, also threw his weight behind Kelly.

“Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office,” Graves said last month.

Former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum has also bolted across the aisle to publicly rejecting Kobach, who currently serves as Kansas’ secretary of state.

It’s highly unusual for so many well-known former Republican officials, especially in a very red state like Kansas, to go out of their way to back a Democrat.

And it shows just how strongly many Republicans doubt Kobach’s fitness for office.

Kobach was recently caught employing multiple white supremacists on his campaign staff.

And Kobach’s unfounded allegations that U.S. elections are overrun with fraud have drawn him right-wing support and a home at Breitbart, a prominent platform for white nationalists.

After Trump lost the popular vote by three million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016, he picked Kobach to co-chair a presidential commission to look into voter fraud. Trump himself regularly lies and insists “millions and millions” of American voted illegally.

In fact, voter fraud is so rare that it almost never happens. One comprehensive study found only 31 instances of possible voter fraud, out of one billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014.

So it’s no surprise that Kobach’s commission turned out to be a sham, and was disbanded without finding any evidence whatsoever of widespread voter fraud.

At one point, the commission demanded that states across the country hand over private information regarding their voter rolls. But even red state election officials told Kobach to get lost.

Kobach was humiliated again this spring when a judge found him to be in contempt of court while he was defending the state’s onerous voter registration law.

The Republican-appointed judge cited Kobach’s “history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions.”

At one point the judge actually had to tell Kobach from the bench, “That’s not how trials are conducted,” after he tried to introduce evidence without giving the other side a chance to review it.

On top of losing the case, Kobach’s office was ordered to pay the legal fees of the ACLU, which had argued Kobach’s voter I.D. requirements were illegal.

No wonder so many Republican leaders think he’s toxic.

Published with permission of The American Independent.