SEVERE WX : Air Quality Alert View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump's Kobach endorsement could cost the GOP a governor's race in red Kansas

President Donald Trump endorsed Kris Kobach ahead of Tuesday's Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary. The ...

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 8:04 AM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 8:04 AM

President Donald Trump endorsed Kris Kobach ahead of Tuesday's Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary. The endorsement doesn't come as a surprise, but should Kobach win, it could cost the Republican Party a governor's seat in deep red Kansas.

Why?

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Election fraud

Election results

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Governors

Gubernatorial races

Heads of government

Kansas

Kris Kobach

Midwestern United States

North America

Political corruption

Political endorsements

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Sam Brownback

State elections

The Americas

United States

US Democratic Party

US federal government

US political parties

US Republican Party

White House

To start, Kobach, who is Kansas' secretary of state, is mired in controversy.

He served as vice chairman of Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which was set up after the President repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2016 election. The group's supposed aim was to investigate voter fraud, but it never presented any evidence to support the President's claims. It was eventually shutdown.

Last week, a former member of the panel, Maine's Democratic secretary of state Matthew Dunlap, wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kobach saying he had "reviewed the Commission documents made available to me and they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud."

ProPublica and the Kansas City Star have also reported that Kobach sold himself as an attorney who would write laws aimed at combating illegal immigration for towns and defended them in court for a substantial fee. Many of those of municipalities lost in court, but Kobach made off with a lot of money, according to the reports. Kobach has disputed some of the characterizations in the article.

Now, Kobach is running for governor of Kansas. Oddly enough, Democrats are welcoming this news and hoping Kobach defeats current Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer in Tuesday's primary. Polls give Kobach a slight edge.

Why would Democrats be rooting for Kobach? He's uniquely positioned to allow a Democrat to win the general election in November.

General election polling has been limited in the Sunflower state. The one poll that has been published, however, shows Kobach down by a point to potential Democratic nominee Laura Kelly. (Colyer was ahead of her by 10 points in the same poll.) The survey was conducted by Remington Research Group (a GOP aligned group) and does not meet CNN's standards because it didn't use live interviewers for all of its respondents.

The idea Kobach is in trouble in a general election is backed up by other data-points. Kobach is one of the least popular politicians in Kansas. A spring 2018 poll from Fort Hays State University, which only used live interviewers, found that Kobach had a net favorability rating of -17 percentage points. Colyer, on the other hand, broke far closer to an even score. Indeed, no one else in the poll besides Kobach was anywhere close to such a negative score.

It's important to note that Kansas is a very Republican state on the federal level. It voted for Trump by over 20 points. It last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1932.

Trump though isn't so popular in Kansas right now. Gallup's polling over 2017 showed him with an approval rating under 50%.

Additionally, Democrats have much more success in non-federal statewide elections in Kansas.

The state has a history of electing Democratic governors. Kathleen Sebelius won two terms as governor in the 2000s. Joan Finney won a term in the 1990s before that. John Carlin served two-terms in the 1970s and 1980s.

Just four years ago, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback was barely reelected. He won by only 4 percentage points in a year in which Republicans romped nationwide. Brownback suffered at the ballot box because of an aggressive tax plan that ended up draining the state's coffers.

Brownback's budget policies made him one of the least popular governors in the nation by the time he left office to take a job in the Trump administration. Kobach wants to restore that tax plan, which was repealed by the Republican-run state legislature over Brownback's veto.

In this way, Kobach is setting the table for what has typically been the playbook for Democratic success in Kansas. There are in essence three political parties in the state. There's a conservative Republican Party (of which Kobach is part of), a more moderate Republican Party and a Democratic Party. Democrats can win statewide when Republicans nominate conservatives, which allows the Democratic nominee to take off a chunk of the moderate Republicans (It's how Sebelius won a first term in 2002).

Democrats, though, are in a way facing their own division: the candidacy of independent Greg Orman. He could take votes away from whomever wins the Democratic nomination.

Political watchers may recognize Orman from his bid for the US Senate in 2014. In that campaign, he got Democrat Chad Taylor to drop out of the race. That seems far less likely to occur this time around.

Despite far higher name recognition than Kelly, Orman barely broke double-digits in the Remington poll.

Of course, we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. First, we need to see if Kobach actually wins the nomination on Tuesday.

If he does, it's likely that Kansas will be home to one of the most competitive gubernatorial elections this fall.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Mason City
Mostly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 53°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Gradually warming back into the 80s
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Demolition Derby at the Olmsted County Fair

Image

KAATS Gymnastics owner weighs in on coaching high level competition

Image

Preventing fights at the fair

Image

Ryan's Evening Forecast (8/1/21)

Image

Autocross at the Olmsted County Fair

Image

American Legion ride for PTSD

Image

Cresco celebrates 100 years of wrestling

Image

Ryan's Evening Forecast (7/31/21)

Image

Find the Curling Club of Rochester at the fair

Image

Eviction moratorium expires this weekend

Community Events