Politics

Kansas GOP Gubernatorial Race Too Close To Call, But Kobach Is Campaigning Anyway

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  • Kansas’ GOP gubernatorial primary race is too close to call, and the results should be expected sometime next week, though a recount is likely.
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he will begin campaigning for November’s election anyway, because the Democrats aren’t going to wait either.
  • Kansas state Sen. Laura Kelly won the Democratic nominee with nearly 52 percent of the vote.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will start campaigning for Kansas’ November gubernatorial general election, despite the Tuesday’s Republican primary race being deemed too close to call almost a full day after the polls closed.

Kobach is in a deadlocked race with incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, and both candidates have sent their supporters home from election night watch parties as more votes keep trickling in.

Kobach, who received a controversial endorsement from President Donald Trump one day before the election, is ahead of Coyler by just 191 votes as of Wednesday afternoon. The candidate also told an audience at a news conference on Wednesday that Republicans can’t afford to wait to start campaigning for November’s election, and that he will start immediately.

Kobach acknowledged that he hasn’t officially won the race yet and that his campaigning could be for nothing.

The delay in calling the race is reportedly due to voting machine issues in Johnson County, a region with 23 percent of Kansas’ registered voters, The Associated Press reports.

Kobach told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday that all the votes won’t be counted until next week and that someone should then call for a recount, which could delay the results by as much as another week.

Even though he is Kansas’ secretary of state, Kobach also said on Fox News that he would not need to recuse himself from the potential recount, saying that there is no law that requires him to do so. He also noted that the recounts are up to local councils and that he would have no part in the recount, should there be one.

In stark comparison, Kansas state Sen. Laura Kelly won the Democratic nominee handedly with 51.5 percent of the vote to former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer’s 20.1 percent and former Kansas House member Josh Svaty’s 17.5 percent.

Colyer, who received endorsements from former Kansas GOP Sen. Bob Dole and the National Rifle Association (NRA), became governor in January after Trump nominated former Gov. Sam Brownback to be U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

Trump’s endorsement of Kobach came against the advice of many Republicans, reportedly including leaders of the Republican Governor’s Association, who believe Kobach would be too polarizing to win in November and would subsequently hand Democrats the governor’s office.

Kobach is known for his time on Trump’s failed voter fraud commission, which was not able to turn up any actual evidence of fraud.

Colyer, who takes a similar position as Trump on several issues, including the trade deals with China and on border control, has also agreed that Kobach is too aggressive a candidate and his victory would risk Republican control.

Other Republican candidates in the race include former state Sen. Jim Barnett and Kansas insurance commissioner Ken Selzer. (RELATED: Watkins Wins Republican Primary In Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District)

The amount of self-funding that occurred in this gubernatorial race was slightly unusual, with Kobach’s running mate giving him $1.5 million since the start of the year, and Independent candidate Greg Orman spending $650,000 of his own money for his personal campaign.

Nearly 55 percent of all the money in the race came from the candidates or their running mates, University of Kansas political scientist Patrick Miller calculated.

Kobach’s lead fell to under 100 votes on Thursday after a reporting error was discovered, a local news outlet, 13 NEWS, reported.

Gov. Colyer received 522 votes in Thomas Co., but the Secretary of State’s website initially showed only 422.

Bryan Caskey, Kansas’ state elections director, told 13 NEWS that the site will be updated on Friday to reflect the accurate results.

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