Archive for Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Immigration top issue in GOP race for Kansas Secretary of State

August 3, 2010


— Kris Kobach's political future depends on whether voters in Tuesday's primary election in Kansas see illegal immigration as an issue for the state's top elections official to tackle.

Kobach, a Kansas City-area law professor, helped write Arizona's new law on illegal immigration. He's linked the issue to combatting voter fraud in Kansas as he seeks the Republican nomination for secretary of state.

His campaign has created intense interest in a race that usually doesn't receive much attention. Republican voters also were expected to ratify U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback's status as their nominee for governor, and they were settling races for insurance commissioner and attorney general.

The only Democratic primary for a statewide office was for secretary of state, where appointed incumbent Chris Biggs, of Junction City, faced state Sen. Chris Steineger, of Kansas City. The Democratic Party's establishment was backing Biggs.

But Kobach has received by far the most attention. In his GOP race, he faces Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley and J.R. Claeys, of Salina, a former chief executive officer of the National Association of Government Contractors.

All three GOP candidates support requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Kobach also would require Kansans to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote for the first time.

But such issues have been overshadowed by Kobach's notoriety as an adviser to city officials and state legislators across the nation who want to crack down on illegal immigration.

He's said that if he's elected, he'll work as secretary of state between 40 and 50 hours a week, then spend an additional 20 hours on immigration issues.

"Some people golf in their spare time," Kobach said last week. "I defend American sovereignty."

Claeys was skeptical enough to demand that his opponents sign a pledge to a full-time secretary of state. Neither did, though Ensley also criticized Kobach over the issue.

Biggs has held the job since March, when Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson named him to replace four-term incumbent Ron Thornburgh, who resigned to take a private sector job.

Biggs had the endorsements of Parkinson and the Legislature's top two Democrats. Also, Steineger was fined $5,000 this spring by the state ethics commission for a campaign finance violation.

Meanwhile, Brownback, from Topeka, was expected to have little trouble in his GOP primary race overcoming Joan Heffington, of Derby, a former home builder and retired Boeing purchasing agent. Heffington promised that if elected, she'd put every bill reaching her desk through a biblical test and public poll.

The lone Democratic candidate for governor is state Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City.

The insurance commissioner's race will be settled by the Republican primary, because no other parties have candidates. Incumbent Sandy Praeger, who's seeking a third term, faces Dave Powell, an El Dorado insurance agent who's a tea party favorite.

Republicans expected Kansas Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, of Independence, to defeat Junction City prosecutor Ralph DeZago, in their attorney general's primary. The winner will face Attorney General Steve Six, who has no opposition on the Democratic side.

In the state treasurer's race, neither Democratic incumbent Dennis McKinney, of Greensburg, nor GOP challenger Ron Estes, of Wichita, the Sedgwick County treasurer, had primary opponents.


blindrabbit 7 years, 9 months ago

Seig Hiel Herr Kobach; you've got my vote!, Danke! Herr Himmler.

tolawdjk 7 years, 9 months ago

Lil' early for the Godwin flag, isn't it?

guess_again 7 years, 9 months ago

What the frig does immigration have to do with the Secretary of State's office? Nothing.

Elizabeth Ensley is clearly the most experienced on the R side of things.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

You're right-- Kobach is running for Sec. of State simply because it's the highest level office he thought he had a chance of winning. This campaign is strictly about raising his profile among the teabaggers and the national reactionary media.

guess_again 7 years, 9 months ago

Ibroke - you are a self-confessed Kolbach acolyte. And your statement is quite a reach. Again, the office of Kansas Secretary of State has nothing to do with immigration.

Besides, the secretary of state actually manages an office of maybe 80 or so people. Kolbach was incapable of managing a political party office of 3 or 4 people.

anitliars 7 years, 9 months ago information on voter ID's state by state. A much litigated issue (and often lost).

Is voter fraud really that rampant in Kansas?

RogueThrill 7 years, 9 months ago

Probably no more than it is anywhere else. Which means it's not prevalent at all. It exists, but not in large enough numbers to actually skew an election, especially in a place like Kansas.

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