Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach is famous for being the architect of the Arizona and Alabama anti-immigrant laws (SB 1070 and HB 56) — and for pushing anti-immigrant laws onto states when he’s supposed to be working for Kansas.
He’s facing reelection this year though, and according to the Wall Street Journal, Kobach is drawing challengers from both the right and left:
Republican Scott Morgan of Lawrence, Kan., who has long been active in Kansas politics, is announcing his campaign for the GOP nomination on Wednesday. In explaining the rationale for his candidacy, Mr. Morgan went directly at Mr. Kobach’s work on immigration. He said he is wrongly using the secretary of state’s office to promote tighter immigration rules, which has nothing to do with the job.
“Go do that if that’s what you want to do, but quit doing it on our dime while you’re secretary of state,” Mr. Morgan said.
According to the WSJ, the fact that Kobach has drawn challengers is illustrative of the fact that some in the GOP are trying to moderate on immigration:
Republicans such as Mr. Kobach who take a hardline view on the issue have dominated the party in the past. But they are being challenged by others who believe the GOP needs to take a more welcoming stance to immigrants, partly to make the party more attractive to the growing bloc of Hispanic voters.
Anti-immigrant laws that Kobach has pushed have largely been struck down by the courts — after costing the states that passed them millions in legal fees and enduring damage to their reputation. Because Kobach has spent time defending these laws — and suing to defend President Obama’s deferred action program — while in office, he’s drawn criticism from Kansans for spending so much time on his anti-immigrant agenda rather than focusing on his job.