Kansas Governor Concedes 'Closest Election in America'

Jeff Colyer says he will endorse Kris Kobach
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2018 12:05 AM CDT
Governor Concedes Tight Kansas Election
In this Aug. 8, 2018, photo, Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks to the media during a news conference at the Topeka Capitol Plaza hotel in Topeka, Kan.   (Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded Tuesday evening in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary, saying he will endorse Secretary of State Kris Kobach a week after their neck-and-neck finish threatened to send the race to a recount. Colyer accepted defeat in a surprise announcement after a review of some provisional ballots from most Kansas counties failed to find enough votes for him to overcome a deficit of 110 votes at the time of poll closing in the Aug. 7 primary, out of more than 311,000 votes initially counted. Kobach, who was endorsed by President Trump, has seen his lead widen as the counting of provisional ballots continued across the state, the AP reports.

"I've just had a conversation with the secretary of state and congratulated him on his success and repeated my determination to keep this seat in Republican hands," Colyer said. "This election may be the closest in America. But the numbers are not there." Kobach—who has a national conservative following thanks to his strong stance against illegal immigration and his fervent defense of voter ID laws—has been a lightning rod for controversy, and some Democrats believe their party has a better chance to capture the governor's seat with him as their Republican opponent instead of Colyer. (Kobach, the state's chief election official, recused himself from the counting of ballots last week.)

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