In one of the most tightly run, and recently controversial, races in this season’s GOP primary elections, incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer of Kansas concedes to his gubernatorial primary challenger Kris Kobach, Kansas’ Secretary of State, on Tuesday evening, The Washington Post reports.
Coyler and Kobach were “virtually tied,” TNB informed readers, “to decide the Republican nominee for Governor come November.” By August 9th TNB reported on an AP News story “that county officials noticed an error in reporting of their numbers on the Secretary of States’ website…” which dropped Coyler’s deficit to only 91 votes.
The intensely disputed race triggered a county-by-county count and review of provisional and absentee ballots to determine how many of those would be added while each side “challenging each other’s legal interpretations, sending observers to monitor the vote count and raising the specter of lawsuits.”
Provisional ballot laws vary from state to state, but basically are “laws that require a provisional ballot upon verification of the identity of the voter if a voter fails to present proper identification at the polls or when registering before voter registration deadlines.”
Kobach, as Secretary of State, is responsible for overseeing vote counting as one of his duties. Gov Colyer called for Kobach to recuse himself, but Kobach, at first refusing, finally agreed to remove himself from his election-related duties on August 10th, reports NBCNews, rejecting Colyer’s further criticisms, saying, “his [Coyler] unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public’s confidence in the election process.”
While Colyer picked up an additional 301 votes, Kobach picked up 325 votes. WaPo further reported, saying that in Colyer’s concession statement to the press he said he conceded in a phone call to Kobach and that he was determined “to keep this seat in Republican hands.”
“I’ve just had a conversation with [Kobach] and I congratulated him on his success, and I repeated my determination to keep this seat in Republican hands, Colyer said Tuesday, with his family by his side, sounding emotional at times. “The numbers are just not there unless we were to go to extraordinary measures.”
Colyer added he would not seek a recount challenging the results.
Kris Kobach will face Democratic candidate Laura Kelly and Independent candidate Greg Orman in November for Kansas governor.