Immigration hardliner Kris Kobach leads Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer by 191 votes, with only provisional and mail-in ballots remaining to decide who gets the Republican nomination in the Kansas gubernatorial campaign.
With the final results coming in from Johnson County shortly before 8 a.m. today nearly 13 hours after voting ended Tuesday evening Kobach had 126,257 votes, compared to Colyers 126,066.
The razor-thin margin could be complicated once provisional and mail-in ballots are received.
This year marks the first time mail-in ballots can be counted as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday and delivered by Friday. In years past, mail-in ballots had to be received by Election Day.
The specter of a recount also could keep the final results unknown for several days after the election is certified next Tuesday.
Should the polarizing Kobach win the primary, some Republican operatives fear he could lose the governorship to Democrats this fall. The race could become further disrupted if Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman makes it onto the November ballot. He submitted petitions Monday with more than 10,000 signatures for what could become the most serious independent run for Kansas governor in decades.
MEANWHILE, A veteran Kansas legislator won the Democratic primary for governor after stressing her Statehouse experience and fending off questions about her voting record.
State Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka defeated former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty and two other candidates Tuesday.
The 68-year-old Kelly has served 14 years in the Senate and is the top Democrat on the budget committee. She stressed those credentials in running and suggested that she was best able to fix problems created by Republican policies.
OPEN HOUSE SEAT
In the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas, five-term Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins did not seek re-election, setting up both a seven-candidate scramble for the GOP nomination and an opportunity for Democrats to pick up an otherwise out-of-reach seat. Their nominee is former Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who narrowly lost the 2014 governors race.
The Republican field includes four state legislators and an ex-Kansas House speaker. But they werent as visible in the final weeks as Army veteran and political newcomer Steve Watkins, who won the race with help from television ads launched by a political action committee formed by his father.