News Columns & Blogs

Is Kobach following in Kline's footsteps?

Many Kansans already were worried that Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach would be like former Attorney General Phill Kline, who was tossed out by voters for politicizing the office and crusading against abortion providers. Those concerns were heightened last week when Kobach picked Kline's former senior deputy attorney general, Eric Rucker (in photo), to be assistant secretary of state. Rucker also served as Kline's top aide in the Johnson County District Attorney's Office before voters tossed them out again. Rucker then ran for Shawnee County district attorney in 2008 but lost in the general election, in large part because of his connection to Kline. In August, a disciplinary panel recommended that Rucker receive an informal admonition for failing to correct false information given to the Kansas Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Kobach said of Rucker, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the early 1980s: "It is difficult to imagine a person more qualified to be assistant secretary of state."