Politics & Government

This group put out a flier critical of Kobach. And he likes it

Kobach relishes being the target of the ACLU

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach relished being the target of the ACLU during a fundraising dinner in northeast Wichita Tuesday evening.
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Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach relished being the target of the ACLU during a fundraising dinner in northeast Wichita Tuesday evening.

New mailers from the American Civil Liberties Union paint Kris Kobach’s record on education, transparency and LGBT discrimination in a negative light — and Kobach is highlighting it.

The Kansas secretary of state frequently says opposition from the ACLU is a sign he’s on the right track. At a fundraiser in Wichita on Tuesday night for his gubernatorial campaign, Kobach held up a mailer.

On one side, the flier says Kobach wants to be governor “but has violated our civil liberties.”

On the other side, Kobach’s positions on education, public records and anti-discrimination efforts are contrasted with Gov. Jeff Colyer, his primary rival in the Republican race for governor.

“It’s a pro-Colyer ad, anti-Kobach ad. In my entire life, I have never heard of the ACLU advertising on behalf of a Republican candidate for anything,” Kobach said.

ACLU spokesman Mark McCormick confirmed that the ACLU had sent out the flier, but he emphasized that the organization does not support candidates.

“We support civil liberties and civil rights and want voters to be well informed on these issues,” McCormick said in an email. “We have no permanent allies and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests in expanding and protecting civil liberties.”

Donald Trump Jr. comes to Wichita to stump for Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach during a fundraising dinner at Noah's Event Venue in northeast Wichita Tuesday.

The Colyer campaign said it had “no earthly idea what Kris Kobach is talking about.”

The flier “sounds like a dirty trick” to help elect Kobach in the Republican primary, Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr said. He contends that will ensure Democrats and the ACLU have an “easy opponent like Kris Kobach” to defeat in the general election.

The flier accuses Kobach of wasting taxpayer funds on litigation to restrict voting rights, a likely reference to his defense of a Kansas law that requires voter registration applicants to provide proof of citizenship. A federal judge has found the law unconstitutional.

The flier says Kobach didn’t support a bipartisan education package, didn’t back efforts to make government records more readily available and didn’t fight efforts to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals. By contrast, the flier says, Colyer supported the education package and easing access to records.

On efforts to fight LGBT discrimination, the flier puts both candidates down as a “no.”

Kobach’s image on the flier and his positions are listed in black and white, while Colyer and his positions are shown in color. The flier urges readers to “vote to protect liberty and freedom on August 7,” the day of the primary election.

Nowhere does the flier say it was sent by the ACLU. But the Overland Park return address listed is for the ACLU of Kansas.

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