Statehouse Live: Kobach criticized for taking Nebraska job

? Republican Kris Kobach wants to be secretary of state. But he also wants to fight in illegal immigration battles across the country.

Kobach says he can balance the two interests.

But one of his opponents says Kobach can’t, and criticized him Wednesday for continuing to work on illegal immigration litigation in other states.

“We now know, with Professor Kobach taking another job just days before the election, that he was misleading voters, and that he will be a part-time secretary of state,” said J.R. Claeys, a consultant from Salina. Kobach, Claeys and Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth “Libby” Ensley are in the Aug. 3 GOP primary.

On Tuesday, Kobach was hired by the city council of Fremont, Neb., to help represent the city in legal challenges of its new voter-approved ban on hiring or renting to illegal immigrants.

Kobach, helped draft the Fremont ordinance and is also known as one of the authors of the controversial immigration law in Arizona. He also is providing legal work on two other immigration cases in Texas and California.

But Kobach on Wednesday vowed that if elected secretary of state, he will work full-time at that job and handle immigration litigation on his own time. “This is something that is very important for our country,” he said.

Kobach said that during the campaign for secretary of state he has taken a leave of absence as a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and that he needs to work as an attorney to support his family.

“I have to put food on the table for my family,” he said.