Kansas Republicans pick Kobach in hotly-contested AG race

Kris Kobach is the projected winner in Kansas' GOP primary for attorney general.
Kris Kobach is the projected winner in Kansas' GOP primary for attorney general.(KWCH)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KWCH) - Beyond the constitutional amendment question concerning abortion rights in the state, likely the biggest issue on ballots was determining who will represent the GOP in the run to replace Derek Schmidt as Kansas Attorney General. Schmidt is stepping down form the post in his run for governor. Kris Kobach emerged as his party’s pick to move on to November’s general election. Kobach ran his campaign on a commitment to hold the federal government in check.

He said his experience bringing lawsuits against both the Biden and Obama administrations makes him a top choice to do the same if he’s elected Kansas attorney general. In November, Kobach will face Democrat Chris Mann who did not have a primary opponent Tuesday night.

The three candidates vying to replace Attorney General Derek Schmidt in November include Kris Kobach, Tony Mattivi and Kellie Warren, each with unique backgrounds and approaches to how they would serve as Kansas AG.

Kris Kobach is back in the spotlight of Kansas politics after losing to Democrat Laura Kelly in the 2018 governor’s race. Kobach said his experience bringing lawsuits against both the Biden and Obama administrations makes him a top choice to do the same if he’s elected Kansas attorney general.

“Number one is I’ll set up a special prosecution unit or special litigation unit to bring some of these lawsuits against the Biden administration, because I anticipate that there will be there will continue to be various actions violating our Second Amendment rights, things that may affect the right to life a whole host of issues,” Kobach said. “I’ve sued presidential administrations that have violated the Constitution and as Attorney General. That’s the official who can do it the best most easily, and I hope to bring more lawsuits on behalf of the people of Kansas.”

Tony Mattivi, a federal prosecutor for more than 20 years, including time in the early 2000s with the Department of Justice, said he feels the attorney general’s office needs to be more about law enforcement and less about politics.

“I prosecuted war crimes in Iraq and prosecuted a high ranking al Qaeda member at Guantanamo. I have the experience in the courtroom. I believe we don’t need another career politician and to speak, and we certainly don’t need one. I think one could argue that the office has been politicized more than what we’re used to in Kansas,” Mattivi said.

Kellie Warren has her focus on becoming Kansas’ next attorney general after serving the state in both the House and Senate.

Kansans have seen the job I have done as an elected official standing up against government mandates and fighting for their rights, and that’s what our Attorney General does as well. So it’s the last line of defense against government overreach,” she said.

She cited government overreach as the biggest issue facing the AG’s office.

The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary in the Kansas Attorney General’s race will move on to face Democrat Chris Mann in November’s general election. Mann did not have a primary opponent.

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