Overland Park With the threat of a recount gone, Kris Kobach said Tuesday he would welcome supporters of fellow Republican candidate Adam Taff as Kobach prepared to challenge Democrat Dennis Moore for his 3rd Congressional District seat.
Taff, the former fighter pilot who continued to campaign after a narrow loss to Moore in 2002, conceded last week's primary to Kobach in a Tuesday morning phone call. He had until 5 p.m. to ask the Kansas Secretary of State's Office for a recount.
After the announce-ment, Kobach, 38, praised Taff's efforts in the 2002 election.
"Now that I have the honor of serving as the Republican nominee, I welcome Adam Taff and his many supporters to our campaign," said Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who is making his first run for Congress.
"With the help of Republican leaders like Adam Taff, the Republican Party will be united on November 2, and we look forward to returning Kansas' 3rd District to Republican hands," said Kobach, who served on the Overland Park City Council before spending three years in Washington working for the U.S. Justice Department.
Moore, the former district attorney of Johnson County, said the primary outcome made little difference.
"I'm going to run my campaign the way I wanted to run my campaign," said Moore, 58, in an interview. "It wasn't really that material whether it's Kobach or Taff who ends up being my opponent."
As he seeks his fourth term, Moore said he would focus on the nation's security, federal debt, health care and education.
The closely contested Republican race turned on provisional ballots, those set aside by election officials when they are not sure people are eligible to vote in a particular race or precinct.
Kobach, of Overland Park, had led by just 87 votes after Tuesday's primary. Counts of provisional ballots conducted Friday in Douglas and Wyandotte counties had trimmed his lead to 81 votes. The count of more than 2,500 provision ballots Monday at the Johnson County election office widened Kobach's lead to 207 votes out of nearly 89,000 cast.
If Taff had sought a recount and still wound up the loser, his campaign would have had to pay for it. If he won the recount, the state would have paid.
After thinking about it overnight, Taff, who had the backing of moderate Republicans, conceded the race, saying he had confidence in the results.
Taff said he was ready to throw his support behind Kobach, a conservative. Taff, 39, of Lake Quivira, encouraged other Republicans to do so as well, regardless of whether they identified themselves as moderates or conservatives.
"My inclination has always been to reunite the party and come together," Taff said. "And every day that goes by you can argue is another day that is lost in the general election."
The final, unofficial results gave Kobach 39,129 votes to 38,922 for Taff, with state Rep. Patricia Lightner a distant third with 10,836. Lightner, 47, has served in the Kansas House for six years. The results are not official until the State Board of Canvassers certifies them.