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Republican Kris Kobach has managed to established an outsized persona for only being a one-term secretary of state in Kansas. Kobach became a national liberal scourge after he won office in 2010. He loaned out his services to help governors in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia craft anti-immigration legislation, pioneering the idea of self-deportation that Mitt Romney touted in his presidential campaign. In Kansas, he imposed harsh voter ID laws to keep Democrat-inclined voters away from the ballot; just last week, he went to court against Chad Taylor—a Dem who wanted to drop his Senate campaign—in order to keep Taylor’s name on the ballot and improve the Republican candidate’s odds (the state Supreme Court ruled against Kobach last week).
Yet after becoming a hero to the right, Kobach is now struggling to hold onto office, trailing or tied in recent polls. And he can thank Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for his troubles, since Brownback’s decisions to alienate moderate Republicans ended up driving Kobach’s opponent out of the party and made her determined to take Kobach down.
“We have a secretary of state who has been AWOL from Kansas,” Jean Schodorf, the Democrat challenging Kobach, told me last month. “He would rather be representing Arizona. Because he has been gone and had a personal agenda, the secretary of state’s office is falling apart.”
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