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Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kan. House hopeful challenges secretary of state’s move

June 13, 2012

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TOPEKA — A former assistant Kansas attorney general who’s running for the Legislature said Wednesday that he’s raised a legal issue that could create problems for dozens of fellow candidates because he doesn’t want the state to “cut corners” after federal judges redrew its political boundaries.

Scott Hesse, a Topeka attorney and real estate agent who is seeking the Republican nomination in the 52nd Kansas House district, is challenging a decision by Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office that pushed another Republican into his coming primary race. If Hesse is successful, one of two GOP opponents in his district would be removed from the ballot.

Hesse questions whether Kobach’s office had the authority to reassign more than 80 candidates to new districts after three judges revised political boundaries last week, within four days of Monday’s candidate filing deadline. The judges imposed new lines for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts because lawmakers failed this year to adjust them to account for population shifts over the past decade.

The State Objections Board is scheduled to consider Hesse’s challenge and objections to other candidate filings during a meeting Tuesday. The board members are Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans.

Other candidates wouldn’t be removed automatically from the ballot if Hesse prevails, but his success could allow additional challenges after the Aug. 7 primary election.

“The secretary of state does not have the authority, statutory or otherwise, to move a person from one district to another,” Hesse said during an interview. “What we’re really after here is to have good government, that we don’t cut corners.”

Hesse is challenging the candidacy of Dr. Shanti Gandhi, a fellow Republican and Topeka physician, but not the filings of the other two candidates in the 52nd House District, Republican Dick Jones and Democrat Ted Ensley, both from Topeka.

Kobach and other officials in his office declined to discuss Hesse’s objection, noting Kobach will participate in a decision on whether to remove Gandhi from the ballot over it.

Gandhi filed to run in the 54th House District in April. Gandhi said he went to the secretary of state’s office Friday and signed another document, stating his intent to run in the new 52nd District.

“I did what I was told to do,” he said.

According to the secretary of state’s office, the document Gandhi signed was a handwritten statement prepared by Brad Bryant, deputy assistant secretary of state for elections. Bryant also initialed it.

Hesse said he’ll have to examine the document to see whether it qualifies as a new filing. But he said when the federal judges drew new district lines and declared the old boundaries unconstitutional, filings before their ruling became invalid.

Kobach’s office established a policy in February for dealing with such situations, but Hesse said in his formal objection that it’s not valid because it wasn’t filed or published as a formal regulation.

“I’m trying to stop election fraud,” he said, touching on the major theme of Kobach’s successful campaign for secretary of state in 2010.

State law gives someone three days after a candidate’s filing to protest it, and Hesse filed his objection Monday after filing in the 52nd House District himself. Other candidates in the same situation as Gandhi will get a pass if no one objects, but Kansas law also allows for an objection after the winner of a primary race is certified.

Comments

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

So, Dr. Gandhi files to run for the House seat he was in, a federal court moves his residence into a new district, so the Dr. files for that new district, and Hesse contests his ability to run for the seat he now resides in? What a jerk. Actually maybe worse than a jerk. Dr. Gandhi is one of very few minorities running for the state House, and "coincidentally" one of two who gets his "residency" contested, even though he's been a US resident for almost 50 years and lived in Topeka since the 70's (http://www.gandhiforkshouse.com/). Voter fraud, huh? Why does that sound familiar? Maybe Hesse thinks we share a border with India.

Full disclosure, I know Shanti and am a minority in the 52nd district. I don't really care if Shanti, Mr. Jones, or Mr. Hensley win the House seat, but I would be ashamed to have someone who tries to use subtle racist strategies representing me in the Capitol.

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope you're right. If you are, I still think Hesse's a jerk for contesting the residency of someone who lives in the district, and is just a victim of reapportionment, but a jerk is better than a racist.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

Mycat where does it say he is questioning Ganhis'residency? He is questioning if he filed properly - what is wrong with making sure everyone follows the rules?

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I got it from this article: "Both objections deal with residency requirements" http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jun.... I know I'm a little biased because I know Shanti, but he's lived in that house for over a decade, and the only reason he ended up in a new district is because the federal court moved the lines. It has nothing to do with following the rules, he just had to re-file b/c the court changed his district. It's a dick move on Hesse's part to make his effort to run that much harder.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

It has everything to do with following the rules. Why do you think so many legislators were in Topeka on Monday? Their districts changed and they had to refile.

Are you suggesting that people shouldn't have to live in the district they represent? Or that if someone doesn't file properly they should get a pass because they are a minority or a nice person?

Rules are rules and they should be followed especially in elections.

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I have no idea what you're talking about. Shanti re-filed once the lines moved, and he lives in the district he re-filed in. He followed the rules, just like the 2 other white candidates in the district, but he was the only one whose residency was contested. I guess I think people who follow the rules should get a pass, and not get further questioning because their skin is brown. After Shanti's absolved Tuesday, I hope Scott "KKK" Hesse gets some harsh questions from the press.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

Well if he refilled properly then end of story but the article says Hesse is questioning if he refiled I just don't understand the name calling any candidate should be able to voice concerns about residency or proper filing of another candidate.

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm questioning his motives; why make it harder for someone who lives in a district to run in that district. Sure, he has the right, but why? I think BigDog sums it up well below, that its just a political maneuver to eliminate or burden his competition. Even if Hesse's not racist, thats bush league, and I think a direct reflection on him as a candidate.

BigDog 2 years, 6 months ago

If you read the article, Dr. Ghandi did exactly what he was told to do by the Secretary of State's office. I hope that this is discarded quickly and move forward toward campaign.

Mr. Hesse is not concerned about election fraud, he is worried about his own ability to win an election. If he can eliminate one of the other candidates in this manner, it increases his chances for winning. Mr. Hesse, I believe this will bring negative focus on your campaign. It appears you are afraid to campaign based upon positions and ideas.

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope thats the case BigDog, not racism. Either way I don't think it reflects highly on Mr. Hesse's character.

pace 2 years, 6 months ago

Well at last, here is election fraud, brought to light through the actions of Koback. He leads by example. Kobach should resign.

JackMcKee 2 years, 6 months ago

two words TerriLois Gregory. Or is that three? God help me!

somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

I would vote for Orvillecopter over these cats any day of the week 15 times on Sunday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePNdcd...

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