Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with his penchant for hardline anti-immigration policy and reputation for picking, and winning, fights against the invented bogeyman of voter fraud, is in an unexpectedly heated race for re-election against Democratic challenger and former state Sen. Jean Schodorf.
In a solidly Republican state, Kobach may still be in for electoral rebuke as voters tire of his political shenanigans, and sidelined moderate Republicans seek to regain control of their state, Politico reports. But it's a political antic and not Kobach's anti-immigration work or voter ID law crusade which really tested voters' patience, the Kansas City Star reported earlier this month. Kobach sought to keep a Democratic candidate for Senate on the ballot even after he'd withdrawn from the race, in a move which would have helped a fellow Republican contender.
That's not to say that Kobach's policies haven't had a lasting impact on the national policy landscape. Kobach, an architect of Arizona's SB 1070, also has served as counsel for the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach also successfully pushed for a Kansas voter ID bill which requres not just proof of identification but also of citizenship. The move kicked some 22,000 people off the voter rolls, critics have argued. Trip Gabriel reports for the New York Times:
"They moved too far to the right," said Marc White, a lawyer who came to a candidates' forum last week in Topeka, the state capital, where Mr. Kobach spoke. "We're a Republican state, don't get me wrong. But you're going to have a backlash to the more extreme policies."
Mr. White described trying to help a man in his 40s caught in limbo by Kansas' tough new voting law written by Mr. Kobach, which requires voters registering for the first time to document they are citizens. "This individual was born at home in Mississippi and is having a very difficult time obtaining records that would allow him to register," Mr. White said.
After polling neck and neck with his Democratic challenger earlier this fall, he latest poll out this week by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling give Kobach a six-point lead over Schodorf, Politico reports.