Even many Kansas Republicans are terrified of what will happen if Kris Kobach becomes their governor.
With just over a week until the final votes are cast, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is still too toxic to get unified support from his fellow Republicans in his run for Kansas governor.
While Kansas is a deep-red state, a chorus of former and current GOP officials have publicly signaled their support for Kobach’s Democratic opponent, Laura Kelly.
To date, nearly 30 prominent Republicans in Kansas have crossed the aisle to side with Kelly over Kobach.
They include two of the state’s former GOP governors, Mike Hayden and Bill Graves; former Republican U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum; and more than two dozen other current and former state officials.
And while not all Kansas Republicans have endorsed Kobach’s Democratic opponent, plenty of others would prefer to avoid talking about Kobach at all.
Nearly 40 percent of Republicans in the Kansas state legislature wouldn’t tell the Wichita Eagle last month if they planned on supporting Kobach in November.
“I’m not going to take a position on that race. I just don’t feel like it’s any benefit to me to do that,” House Majority Whip Kent Thompson told the newspaper.
By comparison, 94 percent of Democrats in the Kansas House and Senate said they plan on voting for their party’s nominee in November.
The Kansas gubernatorial race is currently viewed as a toss-up by political analysts, and is one of more than half a dozen solid opportunities Democrats have of flipping governor’s seats nationwide next Tuesday.
Kobach has done much to deserve the doubts of his own party.
He is promising to enact a radical tax-cutting agenda combined with massive public spending cuts, even as Kansas continues to reel from the economic disaster created by similar policies under former GOP governor Sam Brownback.
“Kris Kobach wants to repeat the Brownback experiment we fought so hard to end,” warned former Senate president Dick Bond, a Johnson County Republican. “He will take those dangerous policies even further and devastate Kansas.”
After Trump lost the popular vote by 3 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 by insisting without evidence that “millions and millions” of American voted illegally.
Since in-person voter fraud almost never happens, and couldn’t realistically happen on a wide enough scale to sway an election, it’s no surprise that Kobach’s commission turned out to be a joke that was disbanded without finding any evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Kobach only barely managed to secure the GOP nomination for governor in an August primary, beating Gov. Jeff Colyer by just 343 votes.
Kobach was too radical for many Kansas Republicans then — and the same is still true now.