WICHITA, Kansas — Current Secretary of State, Kris Kobach has seen his share of controversy. His likely general election challenger is Jean Schodorf, a long-time Republican who recently changed parties.
Kobach is leading Schodorf 47% to 41% with 12% still undecided. The margin of error is +/-3.1%.
“Very close race right now,” says KSN political analyst Jeff Jarman. “Within the margin of error. I think people thought it would be a competitive race and it’s looking like it will be a very competitive race down to the wire.”
In the exclusive KSN News Poll of voters likely to vote for Secretary of State in November, voter registration and immigration are what matters to voters. 38% of likely voters say immigration is their number one topic. Next up is voter registration at 22%.
“Well the poll results also show that not only is – are voters on my side when it comes to requiring proof of citizenship,” says Kolbach. “It also shows that voters are on my side when it comes to enforcing the rule of law in immigration.”
Schodorf, who is widely considered a moderate, says voters are on her side, and says her leadership skills will come into play.
“I believe that it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat,” says Schodorf. “And we will have safe and secure elections, helping people vote… help all citizens be able to vote.”
Schodorf says she is also interested in fixing what went wrong with elections results. She points to machines that were not responding and results coming in very late in the last major election, particularly in Sedgwick County. Some elections results were not available until the next day, in some cases.
She also says her work with lawmakers will give her an edge in making policy for Secretary of State.
“I’ve spent 12 years in the legislature working very closely with Republicans,” says Schodorf. “And I’m a coalition builder, bringing Democrats and Republicans together. That’s something I would work very hard to do… there are a lot of Republicans that are very very frustrated”
Kobach counters that he is the one to draw a hard line on the issues of immigration and voter registration.
“Well, the Secretary of State is the chief guardian of the security and integrity of our elections,” says Kobach. “And there is a huge threat to our elections posed by aliens being registered to vote in Kansas.”
Schodorf says elections have to be guarded closely, and pans on traveling, to get her message out.
“There’s a lot of work yet to be done (and) this campaign is early,” says Schodorf. “And Jill Docking and I are traveling the state every day meeting people and listening to folks about their concerns about the state and were going to keep doing that for the next 4 months.”
Kobach says his record speaks for itself.
“I think on the basis of who the personalities are, there’s a real race here,” says Jarman.