Saying his re-election was a referendum on his efforts to fight voter fraud, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach won re-election Tuesday by a comfortable margin over challenger Democrat Jean Schodorf.
“My race was a referendum on photo ID and proof of citizenship,” Kobach said at the Republican victory party in Topeka.
With all percent of precincts reporting, the first-term Republican from Kansas City, Kan., won 59 percent to 41 percent.
A speech pathologist from Wichita, Schodorf was until 2012 a Republican state senator when she was targeted for defeat by conservatives in her own party because she was considered too moderate.
Schodorf changed parties and hoped to capitalize on what some saw as Kobach’s vulnerabilities as a polarizing figure in Kansas politics.
Kobach has drawn criticism for his freelance legal work on immigration issues, drafting state laws and local ordinances that crack down on immigrants without documentation to be in this country. He has also faced stiff criticism for tying that issue to his efforts to fight voter fraud, which some claim is a non-issue.
But Kobach’s keen focus on those same issues earned him unwavering support from conservatives, who approved of his moonlighting on immigration issues and his insistence on passage of the state’s voter ID law.
Kobach consistently led in the polls over Schodorf, whose fundraising lagged, some analysts said, because of the higher-profile gubernatorial and U.S. senate contests.
Republicans also prevailed in three other statewide contests.
In the race to replace Republican Sandy Praeger as insurance commissioner, accountant Ken Selzer of Leawood was beating Overland Park Democrat Dennis Anderson, 61 percent to 39 percent.
Praeger had worked to implement the federal Affordable Care Act, while Selzer said he opposes Obamacare, prompting Praeger to support Anderson, an insurance industry consultant.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt was re-elected to a second term, beating his Democratic challenger A.J. Kotich by a ratio of 2 to 1.
Voters also rewarded Treasurer Ron Estes with a second term. He was beating Democrat Carmen Alldritt of Topeka, winning two-thirds of the vote.
The Star’s Dave Helling contributed to this report.