Kansas Primary Roundup - Kobach, Biggs, Schmidt easily secure nominations

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August 4, 2010

By Joseph Kastner

TOPEKA, Kansas: On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, the voters of Kansas went to the polls to decide who (on the Republican side) would run for Attorney General as well as which candidates would face each other in November for the statewide office of Secretary of State.

In the Democratic contest for Secretary of State, State Senator Chris Steineger faced an uphill battle against his primary opponent, Chris Biggs. Following the resignation of longtime Republican Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh in February 2010, Biggs, who was then head of the Kansas Securities Commission and had entered the Secretary of State race in June 2009, was appointed to the statewide position on March 17, 2010, by Governor Mark Parkinson.[1][2][3] At one point, upon endorsing Biggs for the Democratic nomination in the primary campaign, State Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley called on Steineger to drop out.[4][5] (Senate Minority Leader)

Ultimately, it didn't matter as Chris Biggs was able to easily capture the party nomination with slightly over sixty percent of the vote.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary[6]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Chris Biggs (D) 60.3%
Chris Steineger (D) 39.7%
Total votes 80,872

On the Republican side, the focus of the campaign has been on Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and former Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, despite two other candidates also vying for the nomination. Several days after Republican Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer signed into law Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, more commonly known as Arizona SB 1070, the Lawrence Journal-World & News broke the news that Kobach had a hand in helping craft the legislation.[7][8] The Act, which does not take effect until July 28, 2010, makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying proper citizenship papers required by federal law, authorizes state and local law enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens into the United States. Kobach stated that he provided his assistance to Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce for free and did not believe it would impact his campaign for secretary of state, though he was quick to argue that he would be willing to draw up a similar measure in Kansas, but only if asked to do so by a state legislator.

Civil rights groups who have protested the immigration law have petitioned the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) to impose sanctions on Kobach, who has taught there since 1996. His harshest critics is J.D. Rios, an assistant Kansas City, Kansas school superintendent, who has argued that Kobach "violated the general UMKC policy to promote diversity."[9] Despite threats from liberal alumni members saying they would no longer encourage Hispanic students to enroll at the university, UMKC has staunchly stood in support of Kobach, insisting they believe in academic freedom for all of its faculty members.[10]

More importantly, however, the issue did not prevent Kobach from easily capturing the Republican nomination with nearly fifty-one percent of the vote.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary[6]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Kris Kobach (R) 50.6%
Elizabeth Ensley (R) 27.0%
J.R. Claeys (R) 22.4%
Total votes 304,279

With no one challenging Democratic incumbent Stephen Six for the nomination in the State Attorney General primary, all attention was centered on the Republican contest, though to be honest there wasn't much of one to be had. State Senator Derek Schmidt crushed his primary opponent Ralph DeZago, City Prosecutor for Junction City, after claiming slightly over seventy-six percent of the vote.

2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary[11]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Derek Schmidt (R) 76.4%
Ralph DeZago (R) 23.6%
Total votes 269,498

See also

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References