KANSAS | KS-gov

Kobach a Potential DHS Pick

Wink Hartman doesn’t seem likely to step aside for a Gov. Colyer.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
July 31, 2017, 11:10 a.m.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) is a possible nominee to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as Home Security Secretary. (Politico)

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) in an interview “didn’t name specific policy proposals he would tackle as Governor but mentioned he was concerned with the ‘tone’ of Kansas politics. … Colyer did distance himself slightly from” departing Gov. Sam Brownback (D).

Colyer: “Sam is my friend and he is going be a great ambassador in a very sensitive position. But I’m my own man.” (KSNT)

Kobach “cast doubt on the idea that Colyer will be able to distinguish himself from Brownback.”

“Whether Jeff were in the governor’s seat or in the lieutenant governor’s seat it doesn’t fundamentally change the fact that he has been Gov. Brownback’s right hand man, so he would be the candidate most closely associated with Brownback for better or for worse.”

Businessman Wink Hartman (R) also indicated he won’t exit the race, saying “the possibility of Colyer’s candidacy has strengthened his resolve. ‘The same people that created the mess in Topeka won’t fix it.’”

In the meantime, “Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party … said the uncertainty about whether” Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) “will enter the race could have a ‘chilling effect’ on Republican donors trying to determine which candidate to back.” (Kansas City Star)

“As a true-red conservative, Colyer can challenge Kobach for the right-wing vote and right-wing money. Each is likely to promise to carry out the Brownback conservative agenda. That may sound like a losing formula, given Brownback’s unpopularity. But in a low-turnout Republican primary, the conservative will attract the most money and almost certainly will win the nomination, while moderates kill each other off.” (Kansas City Star)

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