After a week of uncertainty and misgivings over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s potential role in a recount in the Kansas governor primary, incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer has officially conceded the Republican race. Kobach currently leads by 110 votes. Colyer, who was lieutenant governor for seven years, has only held the post since January, when former governor Sam Brownback resigned to join the Trump administration. Colyer said he would endorse Kobach, according to NBC.
Kobach, who was endorsed by President Trump, has aggressively pushed legislation like voter ID laws that aid voter suppression in Kansas. He’s also virulently anti-immigrant, and has spent years spreading panic over a false immigration crisis across the state. In June, a federal judge found one of Kobach’s pet voter ID laws to be unconstitutional.
Kobach will now go up against Democratic challenger Laura Kelly. Independent Greg Orman may also run, though he is currently battling with the state’s Democratic party over the legitimacy of the signatures he needs to get on the ballot. Kansas is a thoroughly red state, but with Kobach as the nominee, some Democrats are hoping the wave of anti-Trump sentiment might turn the governorship blue. Others are worried that Orman’s candidacy may spoil any chances of Kelly winning.
Former Governor Brownback had a profound impact on Kansas. He instituted extreme austerity measures and tax cuts that lost the state $700 million, and Kansas’ economy is still suffering. Whoever takes over next year will have to deal with Brownback’s legacy, however good (or evil) their intentions.