In the potentially competitive gubernatorial race in Kansas, Trump-backed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer were deadlocked in the Republican primary on Wednesday morning as final votes were counted.
In a dynamic familiar to this year’s primary cycle, both candidates fought to be seen as the most loyal ally of the president. Kobach received Trump’s endorsement just a day before the election and had a very small lead in a still undecided contest.
Republican Party leaders worry that Kobach, a polarizing conservative who imitates the president’s inflammatory style and takes a tough stance on immigration, would energize Democrats and undermine the GOP’s prospects in the November general election. He served on the commission investigating the president’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, which Trump shut down at the start of the year.
Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly won her party’s gubernatorial primary.
In Kansas’s competitive 3rd House District, Sharice Davids was leading a still undecided Democratic primary. Brent Welder, a candidate backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who cast himself as the more progressive option, was trailing. The winner will try to unseat GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder.
In the state’s 2nd District, which includes the capital city of Topeka and the liberal college city of Lawrence, GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins retired, leaving Republicans without an incumbent in a district that could swing left. Paul Davis, a former lawmaker who failed to take the governor’s seat in 2014, won the Democratic nomination. He will face Republican former Army officer Steve Watkins in the general election.