In selecting their next attorney general, Kansas voters have a choice between a political newcomer whose record of public office — if decidedly not public service — is blank, and a political retread whose sell-by date has long since passed.
Former Secretary of State Kris Kobach convinced his party four years ago to let him carry the Republican banner against longtime legislator and Democrat Laura Kelly for Kansas governor. He lost. Two years later, he tried to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate — and lost again.
Now, he’s back, sending trepidation throughout his party. Members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce warned they fear he’d be unable to adequately represent the state’s businesses if elected. Campaign insiders have promised he’s a more down-to-earth campaigner this year, less prone to the wild statements that characterized his previous failed bids. And yet, some redecorating has done little to improve his two galling liabilities in the race: his previous record as secretary of state, and his current campaign, which is so free of substance and so heavy with appeals to divisive social issues that it’s hard to imagine a less attractive candidate for the state’s top law enforcement office.