There’s no way this ends well, is there?
Not in the sense of rooting for your Republican gubernatorial candidate, or rooting against the other guy. We’ll have a winner and loser — someday.
But the path to getting a GOP nominee is going to be long and painful for all Kansans, not just the 252,000 who voted for Gov. Jeff Colyer or Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Look at it this way: It’s a bad sign when statehouse reporters are looking for analysts not so much in the area of political science, but in election law.
We’re three days in and we’ve already experienced minor pain. Kobach’s 191-vote lead the morning after the election went down to 91 after a typo in the Thomas County results was detected. His lead went back up to 121 with a corrected tally from Haskell County, and there’s a to-be-determined discrepancy in Wyandotte County.
More pain: Colyer asked Kobach to stop instructing county election officials; to recuse himself from the process; and to stop making statements “inconsistent with Kansas law.” Kobach went on national TV to say he will step back, but only because Colyer asked.
All that before a final election tally is determined next week, and before the inevitable recount requested by the second-place finisher.
Colyer setting up a “voter integrity hotline,” though, is the sign of this becoming messier. Inviting voters to call in with complaints or stories of polling-place drama is the first step to a court fight, alleging Kobach’s Secretary of State office was negligent in overseeing a smooth election process.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt becomes the big boy in the room. He joins Colyer and Kobach on the three-member board of canvassers that approves election results. Plus he should, as Colyer has asked, oversee any squabbles before they get to court. (He’s also running for re-election.)
Though these are unique circumstances, there is a process that must be followed. Schmidt and the two candidates should remember that. They should also remember the nation is watching how they, and election officials, perform under pressure.
It may all go fairly and according to our election laws. But it’s bound to get ugly here and there before the finish line.