Former Republican Gov. Bill Graves endorsed Democrat Laura Kelly over Republican Kris Kobach in the Kansas race for governor.
A high-profile Republican came out with a blockbuster endorsement in the Kansas gubernatorial contest, providing more evidence that far-right Republican candidate Kris Kobach is too extreme for the job.
"Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office," said former Republican governor Bill Graves.
The endorsement is a major boost to Kelly, and a major blow to Kobach. Graves "had the highest vote percentage of any governor in Kansas history," according to the Kansas City Star.
Graves' endorsement lays out his reasons for backing Kelly, even though Graves has been a Republican all his life.
Kelly "has all the qualities, all the capabilities that we're looking for to lead the state during this difficult time," Graves said. While he never mentioned Kobach directly, Graves went out of his way to say "Laura has integrity."
Kelly released the video endorsement via her Twitter account.
Former Governor Bill Graves has never endorsed a Democrat for public office, but today he is endorsing Laura Kelly. He knows she is the only person who can bring people together to re-establish our state to what it once was. Join him on Team Kelly. #ksleg https://t.co/606M7N9X7K pic.twitter.com/odwTMCEyb2
— Laura Kelly (@SenatorKelly) September 4, 2018
Currently the Kansas Secretary of State, Kobach's campaign and career have been beset by multiple scandals, which bring his integrity into question.
Kobach was recently caught employing multiple white supremacists on his campaign staff ( something that did not deter Trump from endorsing him anyway).
This was not the first time Kobach has been associated with white supremacists and hate groups. As recently as 2015, Kobach spoke at a conference organized by a hate group that regularly publishes articles by white nationalists.
And even as his primary contest for the Republican nomination was so close that a recall might be necessary, Kobach refused to recuse himself from overseeing the results.
Kobach rose to national notoriety as Trump's failed voter suppression guru, leading a botched effort to "prove" voter fraud in the 2016 campaign. The commission he led eventually disbanded in disgrace, finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Before those efforts, Kobach scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from small towns through a scheme to impose radical, unconstitutional anti-immigration laws, and then collect fees to defend the laws in court battles.
In emphasizing Kelly's integrity, Graves draws a sharp contrast with Kobach's history.
Graves served as governor of Kansas from 1995 to 2003, and is the most prominent Republican to endorse Kelly so far, according to the Kansas City Star.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.