Kansas Republicans have nominated Scott Schwab of Olathe to serve as the state’s top election official.
Five Republicans competed for the opportunity to replace Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the office, which oversees Kansas elections and business filings, as Kobach mounted a run for governor.
The GOP race featured two state lawmakers from Olathe — Schwab, who is the Kansas House speaker pro tem, and state Rep. Keith Esau. Both voiced support for a Kansas law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship, which was struck down by a federal court last month.
With about two-thirds of the votes tabulated Tuesday night, Schwab was winning with 35 percent.
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Schwab’s nomination comes two years after the death of his 10-year-old son, Caleb, in a tragic accident at Schlitterbahn, a case that gained national attention.
A close second with 23 percent of the vote was Dennis Taylor, an attorney who has held multiple positions in Republican administrations. The other candidates were Craig McCullah, a former Kobach staffer, and Randy Duncan, a former Saline County commissioner.
Schwab will face Democrat Brian McClendon in the general election. McClendon, a former tech executive, is responsible for making his hometown of Lawrence the center of Earth on Google Earth.
McClendon, who did not have a primary opponent, has strongly criticized Kobach.