Topeka — A Kansas man said Friday that he's dropping his objection to President Barack Obama being listed on the state's November ballot, a day after top officials delayed a decision on his challenge and said they wanted to gather additional information.
Joe Montgomery, a 51-year-old Manhattan resident, told the Kansas secretary of state's office in an email that he and those around him faced "animosity and intimidation" over his objection to Obama's candidacy for re-election. Montgomery argues that Obama is not eligible to serve as president and questions whether Obama has a valid birth certificate.
The notion that Obama was born anywhere other than in Hawaii has long been discredited, and the White House released his long-form birth certificate last year. Hawaii officials also have repeatedly confirmed his citizenship. His mother was a Kansas native.
The State Objections Board reviewed Montgomery's objection Thursday to the president's candidacy but postponed a decision so the secretary of state's office could obtain documents authenticating a copy of Obama's birth certificate from Hawaii that's available online. Secretary of State Kris Kobach serves as the board's chairman.
"There has been a great deal of animosity and intimidation directed not only at me, but at people around me, Montgomery wrote in his email, adding that he doesn't want to burden personal and professional associates with "more of this negative reaction."
Montgomery's plans to drop his challenge were first reported by the Manhattan Mercury. The Objections Board would be the final word on whether Obama appears on the ballot as the Democratic Party's nominee, absent a court challenge. Kobach and its other members, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, are all Republicans, and Montgomery is a registered Republican, according the secretary of state's office.
Kobach said the board still will meet Monday to formally close the case and add whatever additional information is available to the record.
"There's no possibility of Obama's name coming off the ballot when there's no objection," Kobach said.
Montgomery not only questions the validity of Obama's birth certificate but also argues that he wouldn't be eligible to serve as president anyway because his father was from Kenya. That's another argument circulating on the Internet and among members of the so-called "birther" movement.
He did not immediately return a telephone message or email seeking further comment Friday.
Montgomery declined Thursday to disclose his employer, saying he'd filed the objection as a private citizen. But Kansas State University confirmed Friday that he works as the communications coordinator for its College of Veterinary Medicine, a position financed privately through its nonprofit, fundraising arm, the Kansas State University Foundation.
Jeff Morris, the university's vice president for communications and marketing, said that Montgomery is acting as a private citizen, and the university respects his free speech rights.
"We have people on campus with lots of different political views," he said.
Kobach and the other board members faced criticism for delaying a decision to reject Montgomery's objection. Kansas Democrats labeled it frivolous, and an attorney for Obama's campaign said in a letter that the allegations were "tired" and "utterly baseless."
But Kobach — who once suggested during his successful 2010 campaign that Obama would quell doubts about his status by releasing his long-form birth certificate — said Kansas law requires the board to hear all objections.