President Trump on Monday waded into the Kansas gubernatorial race with a last-minute endorsement that could upend the race one day before primary ballots are cast.
“Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country - he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military.”
Kris Kobach is the Kansas secretary of state, but is better known to Americans as the driving force behind the administration’s short-lived Commission on Election Integrity, whose stated purpose was finding voter fraud.
Kobach is among six Republican challengers attempting to unseat current Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer in what has been an extraordinarily competitive primary.
The New York Times reported that Republican officials were hopeful that the president would remain neutral in the race, as Democrats could see an opening in the general election should Kobach be the Republican nominee.
Kobach’s far-right, hardline immigration views could allow for a Democratic candidate to win over moderates in a state that saw Democratic leadership throughout much of the 2000s.
And there is evidence that these brief social-media posts from the president do make a difference in primary elections.
Just recently, in fact, Trump seemed to assist Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a two-person primary against the once-favored Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.
Kobach is perceived as one of the leading figures in attempts at voter suppression and was torn apart in a federal court in March for his claims about voter fraud. He was also held in contempt for failing to register potential voters in the state.
Among many traits Kohach shares with the president, one is particularly notable: Kobach is a birther and was among a group of Kansas officials to seek more information on former President Obama in 2012 before deciding whether to remove him from the state ballot.
As late as 2016, Kobach still seemed to be questioning Obama's citizenship.