The Slatest

Trump Endorses Voter Restriction Enthusiast Kris Kobach in Kansas Governor Race

Kris Kobach and Mike Pence seated.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and US Vice President Mike Pence.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump today endorsed the former head of his now-disbanded voter fraud commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, in this week’s Republican gubernatorial primary:

In some ways, the endorsement is not a surprise: Kobach has spent years laying the groundwork for Trumpian suspicion of electoral results and subsequent crackdowns and restrictions on voter registration. But Axios reported yesterday that “senior Republican officials” were “holding their breath, hoping Trump wouldn’t endorse Kobach,” because they saw him as the Republican least likely to win in the general election thanks to his across-the-board hardline stances on immigration and voting rights.

While Trump endorsing a more right-wing primary candidate isn’t typically a surprise, this endorsement is noteworthy not only because it reportedly went against the advice of senior Republicans, but because Kobach is running against incumbent Jeff Colyer, who took office after the previous governor, Sam Brownback, was appointed by Trump to an ambassadorial post.