“All of the work is done at the county level. The counties do the counting of ballots. So there’s really no point to it but I said if my opponent wishes me to I’d be happy to,” Kris Kobach says.
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer trails Kobach by 91 votes in the too-close-to-call GOP gubernatorial primary.
By DANIEL STRAUSS
08/10/2018 10:33 AM EDT
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he would recuse himself from the continuing vote count in his too-close-to-call Republican gubernatorial primary against Gov. Jeff Colyer.
Colyer’s campaign sent Kobach’s campaign a letter, arguing that he needed to step away from advising local officials involved in counting the ballots in the gubernatorial primary. Story Continued Below
“It has come to my attention that your office is giving advice to county election officials — as recently as a conference call yesterday — and you are making public statements on national television which are inconsistent with Kansas law and may serve to suppress the vote in the ongoing Kansas primary election process,” Colyer wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, I hereby request that you recuse yourself from rendering further advice in these matters and that you designated the Attorney General of Kansas to provide this function.”
Earlier on Thursday Kobach’s lead over Colyer in the primary shrunk after a mistake was discovered in the vote count. Kobach now leads Colyer by a mere 91 votes, down from 191. The winner will face Democrat Laura Kelly in the general election.
Kobach announced his recusal Thursday night in an interview with CNN. He shrugged off the suggestion that his position as secretary of state created a conflict of interest as a candidate.
“All of the work is done at the county level. The counties do the counting of ballots. So there’s really no point to it, but I said if my opponent wishes me to, I’d be happy to,” Kobach said in the interview, adding that he would officially recuse himself on Friday.
The standoff between Kobach and Colyer is the latest twist in a heated primary. President Donald Trump gave Kobach a late endorsement, taking the unusual step of endorsing against a sitting governor and bucking some of his advisers. Kansas law does not trigger automatic recounts in close primaries, but candidates can request them.
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