Attorney General race outcome will tell us state of Kansas GOP

The attorney general contest shows us Kansas Republicans playing a guessing game with the future of their party.

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Columnists

July 25, 2022 - 3:31 PM

Register file photo

Despite the fervent support the Republican leadership has given to the Value Them Both amendment, its fate on August 2 may not tell us much about the current Kansas GOP. But the Republican contest for Kansas attorney general, by contrast, may actually tell us a great deal.

Three candidates are campaigning for the Republican nomination: former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who needs no introduction to Kansas voters; Kellie Warren, a state senator and attorney with a background in civil law; and Tony Mattivi, a former federal prosecutor with a long track record of criminal conviction on both the state and federal level. Mattivi, who polls put in third place in this race, makes his lack of a history of political engagement part of his campaign against Koback and Warren—and that is what makes this Republican fight so interesting.

It is not that Mattivi has no political opinions. His strong conservative beliefs—including firmly opposing abortion rights and strongly supporting gun rights — are prominently displayed in his campaign literature. And yet it is the fact that he also insists an attorney general should not spend their time on politics, always filing lawsuits against the Biden administration — as Kobach has promised, with Warren concurring — which presents Kansas Republicans with a difficult choice.

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