New Report: Kobach Victory Means Independent Has Fighting Chance in Kansas

A new report published by the Cook Political Report (CPR) says that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s GOP primary victory has moved the governor’s race to “Toss Up” status — painting an uncertain future for the state’s top office.

Cook Political Report is a nonpartisan newsletter that is widely used to gauge competitiveness and trends in US House, US Senate, governor’s races, and more in the US.

“In the general election, voters are looking at a competitive three-way race with Greg Orman, a businessman who is running as an independent,” writes Jennifer E. Duffy for Cook Political Report.

“Orman ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014, giving GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts a competitive race. While Orman could siphon votes away from Kelly, he is also likely to win over some Republican votes, especially from Colyer supporters looking for an alternative to Kobach.”

Sitting Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the GOP primary Tuesday after Kobach’s lead expanded to 345 votes. The election turned heated between the two Republican candidates, and was marred in controversy as Kobach’s office oversaw the recount and his deputy advised local elections officials to not count provisional ballots from unaffiliated voters.

Few pundits and politicos in the media went into the 2018 election with Kansas in mind. As Duffy writes, “In a state as Republican as Kansas, the GOP nominee would normally be at least a slight favorite.”

But a competitive outside campaign — whether we are talking independent or third party — throws a wrench into the traditional, red vs blue narrative the media has relied on for decades.

Now, the electoral future is no longer certain, which forces pundits to take a closer look at the shifting political landscape in the state. A lot more eyes are about to be on Kansas as general election campaign season heats up.