Kobach nudges past Colyer in GOP gubernatorial primary

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach narrowly edged Gov. Jeff Colyer in a gubernatorial Republican primary decided by 191 votes out of more than 300,000 ballots cast.

The unofficial final tally didn’t come in until Wednesday morning because of tabulation delays in Johnson County, which grappled with problems related to a new computer system that pushed vote counting well passed midnight Tuesday.

Kobach and Colyer deadlocked at 41 percent of the vote. Kobach had 126,257 votes to 126,066 for Colyer. Former state Sen. Jim Barnett finished with 9 percent and Selzer with 8 percent. Colyer had campaigned against Barnett and Selzer, arguing that a vote for them was a vote for Kobach.

It was immediately unclear whether Colyer would ask for a recount and how long that might prolong Kobach being declared the official winner before he can fully begin his general election campaign against Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

Colyer’s spokesman, Kendall Marr, tweeted out that the governor is not prepared to concede the race to Kobach just yet.

“Due to the current slim margin (0.06%), voting issues in Johnson County and the fact that thousands of provision ballots remain uncounted, this remains too close to call,” Marr wrote. “We are committed to ensuring that the votes are counted accurately,” 

Kobach led the race in the final unofficial tally after picking up an endorsement from President Donald Trump less than 24 hours before voters started casting ballots despite misgivings of administration officials that the endorsement might turn off Colyer loyalists.

Trump’s support was just one of many high-profile, national endorsements Kobach had received during the campaign, including backing from conservative columnist Ann Coulter, rocker Ted Nugent and Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

A Kobach win would extend a string of 11 Trump endorsements that ended in victory for his preferred candidates. On Tuesday night, another Trump-endorsed candidate in Ohio, Troy Balderson, was narrowly leading a special election in Ohio’s 12th District.