The Trump family is diving into the Kansas race for governor, with Donald Trump Jr. backing Kris Kobach.
Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, will campaign for the Republican secretary of state and Kansas candidate for governor. Kobach’s campaign sent out invitations on Monday to a fundraiser and VIP reception to be held in Johnson County on Nov. 28.
Tickets start at $150 and go up to $2,000.
The event marks an early entrance into the governor’s race by the Trump family. Trump Jr. is supporting Kobach over Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is expected to be the sitting governor when the primary election takes place in August 2018.
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“It is an incredible honor that President Trump’s son will be joining our campaign for Governor at this important time. I’m sure each of you is looking forward to extending him a warm, Kansas welcome,” Kobach said in an invitation to the event.
Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, said Trump Jr.’s apperance flies in the face of normal political convention.
“For even Trump’s son to come out and get involved here in a situation where you’re probably going to have an incumbent by the election is unusual,” he said.
Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, called Trump Jr.’s upcoming appearance for Kobach a “slap in the face” to Colyer, who is also running for the Republican nomination.
Colyer’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Trump Jr. has been a source of controversy during his father’s time in office. Earlier this year The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. had been promised “damaging information” concerning Democrat Hillary Clinton before meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.
Ed O’Malley, a former state lawmaker and Repubican also running for governor, said in a statement that Kobach “just doesn’t get it.”
“By bringing Trump Jr. to town, Kobach again demonstrates he isn’t really interested in Kansas,” O’Malley said in a statement. “He wanted a job with Trump and didn’t get one. Now he wants to hobnob with Trump Jr. You know what Kansans want? Someone to listen to them, work on their problems and someone focused on Kansas.”
Mark Hutton, a Republican former state lawmaker and Wichita businessman running for governor, said Kansas doesn’t want a politician trying to get on cable news.
But Hutton also pointed out his similarities to Trump.
“For what it’s worth, Donald Trump and I have at least two big things in common – we aren’t career politicians and we both made our living building things other than our political resume,” Hutton said.
Kobach was an early Kansas supporter of Trump and has advised Trump on immigration. He also is vice chair of the President’s Election Integrity Commission.
In announcing the fundraiser, Kobach made clear he will continue to play up his association to Trump even as a growing number of Republicans – most recently, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee – have begun to criticize him on some topics.
Bob Beatty, a political scientist at Washburn University, said the event shows how closely associated Kobach is with the Trump brand.
“If there was any doubt that Kobach was running hand in hand with Donald Trump for governor, then it’s gone now,” he said.
Contributing: Hunter Woodall and Bryan Lowry of The Kansas City Star