Trump-backed GOP candidate says he’d ‘be happy to recuse’ himself from a recount
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday he’d “be happy to recuse” himself from a potential recount, in the remarkably tight race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Kobach – who holds a microscopic lead – is the state’s chief election officer, and had initially refused to recuse himself, if votes need to be counted again in his race against incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.
But in a chat with CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” on Thursday night, Kobach said if a recount in needed, he’ll step aside. Kobach – who is backed by President Trump – repeated earlier claims that local counties do the vote counting, not him.
“I’ll be happy to recuse myself,” Kobach told CNN host Chris Cuomo. “But as I say, it really doesn’t make any difference. My office doesn’t count the votes. The counties do.”
Earlier in the evening, Colyer demanded that Kobach take himself out of any recount.
“It has come to my attention that your office is giving advice to county election officials — as recently as a conference call yesterday — and you are making public statements on national television which are inconsistent with Kansas law and may serve to suppress the vote in the ongoing primary election process,” Colyer said in a letter.
On Wednesday morning, it appeared the immigration hard-liner Kobach had 126,257 votes to Colyer’s 126,066 – a difference of just 191 votes.
But at least three counties in the Jayhawk State on Thursday had to adjust their totals and Kobach’s lead was whittled to 106 votes, according to the Kansas City Star.
There are still thousands of provisional and mail-in ballots to be counted. There is no automatic recount in Kansas but a trailing candidate can ask for one.
The GOP winner will take on Democratic nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly, in November. While the state tends to vote red, the polarizing Kobach could open a window for Kelly.
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