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Kobach mum amid speculation he could replace Jeff Sessions

Kris Kobach: ‘This one just wasn’t God’s will’

Kris Kobach thanks supporters after conceding to Democrat Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor’s race Tuesday.
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Kris Kobach thanks supporters after conceding to Democrat Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor’s race Tuesday.

Less than a day after Kris Kobach lost his race for Kansas governor, the conservative firebrand is being floated as a potential replacement for fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, a surprised Kobach said “no comment.”

The Kansas secretary of state has longstanding ties to President Donald Trump and has previously been rumored as a candidate for attorney general.

Kobach met with Trump shortly after the 2016 election to discuss plans for the Department of Homeland Security. Kobach said last year that he had been offered roles in the administration, but turned them down to pursue the governor’s office.

“I hated that he ran because I would have loved to have brought him into my administration,” Trump told a crowd in Topeka last month.

“I hope he loses because I want him so badly. But don’t do that.”

Shortly after Sessions’ firing was announced Kobach’s name began circulating on social media as a potential replacement.

Kobach’s campaign manager J.R. Claeys said the Republican is “well-suited” to become attorney general.

“It does make complete sense,” Claeys said. “I haven’t had any discussions with him where this has come up... just knowing Kris as well as I do now, and knowing his history and knowing his relationship with the president and the trust he has from the president, I think it’s definitely a possibility.”

Kansas GOP chair Kelly Arnold said that he expects Trump “find a place for him in his administration. He is very supportive of Kris Kobach.”

Arnold suggested Trump might wait until January when newly elected GOP senators, such as Missouri’s Josh Hawley, could cast their votes for the Kansas Republican.

Kobach was found in contempt of federal court this year and ordered to undergo six hours of legal training this year after he unsuccessfully represented his office against a federal lawsuit against the state’s proof of citizenship law.

His legal work on immigration has also come under scrutiny. An investigation by The Kansas City Star and ProPublica found that small cities that listened to Kobach on immigration policy wound up paying hefty legal bills in defense of ineffective ordinances.

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