TOPEKA – Calling for the state’s top election official to take on more of prosecutorial roll Tuesday, Republican Kris Kobach filed to run for Secretary of State.
“Some people in the past have seen the Secretary of State as an elected bureaucrat as someone who oversees the keeping and filing of records but basically keeps a hand on the tiller and keeps the boat moving the same direction without any changes,” he said. “I would change things substantially and I would go from a ministerial model, which we have right now, to more of a law enforcement model because there is a need to enforce our laws against election fraud.”
Kobach, 43, former state GOP Chairman and a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, has made a national name for himself defending cities and states who have passed laws targeting illegal immigration.
He also helped draft Arizona’s recent illegal immigration law.
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Kobach said he would also work to push for requirements that new voters show proof of citizenship when registering to vote in the state for the first time and show photo identification at the polls.
If elected, Kobach said he would continue work on about six immigration law cases that he was involved in around the country through his private practice. He said he would work on the cases in his free time in addition to his duties as Secretary of State.
He did not plan to take on new legal cases.
Kobach will be running against J.R. Claeys and Elizabeth Ensley in the August Republican primary. The Republican winner in November will face the victor in the Democratic match-up between current Secretary of State Chris Biggs and Kansas City, Kan. Sen. Chris Steineger.
Kobach said he did not anticipate any negative fallout from recent a Federal Election Commission case that implicated himself and former GOP Executive Director Christen Morgan in misusing state party funds and, among other issues, failing to pay state and federal taxes.
“The responsibility that I bear is in making a very bad hiring choice,” he said Tuesday. “I hired someone I thought would be competent to file these reports.”
He did not anticipate similar problems at the Secretary of States office, noting there was already a long established professional staff that he would keep in place.