WASHINGTON — Republican Kris Kobach has won the race to be Kansas' attorney general, NBC News projected Thursday.
With 97% of the expected vote in, Kobach defeated Democrat Chris Mann 51% to 49%.
Kobach has long been viewed as a hard-line figure on immigration and voting laws. As attorney general, Kobach will have the power to prosecute voter fraud and enforce other election laws.
He lost a 2018 bid for governor and a 2020 primary bid for the U.S. Senate. From 2011 to 2019, he was Kansas' secretary of state, and from 2007 to 2009, he was the chairman of the state's Republican Party.
Kobach was also involved with a Texas lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the results of the 2020 presidential election. He told The Associated Press last month that “there’s no question” voter fraud occurred in 2020 and that Americans will never know “how many fraudulent ballots were cast."
As the vice chair of former President Donald Trump's election commission, he was charged with investigating claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election. The panel found no major evidence of voter fraud, and the committee was dissolved in 2018.
Kobach has also been a major proponent of voter ID laws and other election restrictions. In 2018, he unsuccessfully defended in court a state voter registration law that required people to provide documents such as birth certificates or passports at motor vehicle offices to register to vote. At the time, he argued that the law prevented 1,000 to 18,000 noncitizens from casting ballots. The law was struck down. As a candidate for attorney general, he said he would support efforts to ban ballot drop boxes in Kansas.
Meanwhile, Kansas voters re-elected Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to a second term. She was the only Democratic governor running for re-election in a state Trump won in 2020. Her win keeps a Democrat in the top job in ruby-red Kansas for four more years.