The Kansas City Star newspaper recently asked 95 Republican members of the Kansas House and Senate where they stood on the upcoming race for governor of Kansas, and they got some surprising news. The paper discovered that barely half of poll respondents said they would support Kris Kobach, the Trump-loving narrow winner of the recent GOP primary.
Remember, this is a poll of REPUBLICANS who are currently ELECTED OFFICIALS in Kansas. Just 58 percent of them said the controversial Kobach would get their backing.
For a party’s nominee to have such weak support among leaders of his own party with just eight weeks until the election is unheard of, and should send shockwaves throughout the Kansas political world.
The paper reported that a good number of those asked for their opinions did not respond, and also that there appeared to be an open revolt against Kobach from the affluent suburbs of Kansas City.
Clearly Kobach may in trouble given this lukewarm support from members of his own party. The unthinkable may happen: a Democrat could possibly be elected as governor of Kansas.
On the Democratic side, 94 percent of those in the Legislature said they will vote for their candidate Laura Kelly in November.
“She will be a great Governor and the alternative is too horrible to even contemplate,” aid Democratic Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, from Prairie Village.
Kobach has been seen as an extremist and is a very strong and loyal supporter of President Donald Trump. In Kansas as elsewhere, the Republican Party is split between the pro-Trump forces and the traditional GOP establishment.
This conflict was in evidence during the primary as Kobach won against Gov. Jeff Colyer by just 343 votes. Former Republican Governor Bill Graves has endorsed Kelly.
Former two-term Republican governor of Kansas Bill Graves is endorsing Kris Kobach's Democratic opponent. https://t.co/M8fefoizNm
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 9, 2018
Even the Republican office holders who told the Star they would vote for Kobach did so with some reservations.
“He’s kind of a lightning rod, but I agree on a lot of the things he says so he’s going to get my support,” said Republican Rep. Randy Garber.
Supporters of Kobach are reportedly angry about the lack of support from members of their own party, and have resorted to using foul language.
“There’s a lot of them that don’t have no balls or no guts,” said GOP Rep. Jack Thimesch, a Kobach loyalist.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.