Knowledge of immigration, constitutional law and the country’s debt are three things that Kris Kobach says set him apart from others running for U.S. Senate next year.
Kobach, whose eight-year term as Kansas Secretary of State ended in January, told The Mercury in a visit to Manhattan on Monday that he has devoted the last two decades of his career to immigration reform.
“So unlike other senators who rely on staff to tell them what the law says and tell them what would happen if we added this phrase or that phrase to the law, I’ve actually litigated these very words in U.S. statute,” he said. “And would be the one telling my staff ‘OK, this is how I want the law written and this is what we would do.’”
He spent 15 years as a professor of law at the University of Missouri—Kansas City teaching legal law and constitutional law, which is the center of what he taught, he said. Kobach said his strong familiarity with the topics will help him as senator if elected.
He said he is also concerned about federal spending.
“It is hugely unethical what we’re doing to your generation and to your kids,” he said. “At this point, we’re saddling you with so much debt that my generation is in charge of right now.”
He said he thinks most people in Congress pretend that this is not a problem, and wants to vote on debt reduction if elected.
Kobach said that he learned a lot from last year’s loss to Laura Kelly in the governor election, and said his campaign team is made up of some different players.
“In many ways, an election that you don’t win is more of a learning experience then which you do win,” Kobach said.
Without getting into specific details, Kobach said his tactics for this election is different, including different allocation of resources this time.
Despite losing to Kelly, Kobach indicated that potential critics wouldn’t have to worry about him in another general election if he won the primary next year.
Kobach said Kansas Republicans have a long winning streak in winning the U.S. Senate race, dating back to the 1936 election. He said gubernatorial races tend to go back and forth between parties.
“Kansas voters in U.S. Senate races tend to lead much more strongly Republican than they do in gubernatorial races,” he said.
Kobach also called the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump “a great waste of time” based on current information. The inquiry revolves around whether Trump abused his power when asking Volodymyr Zelensky, president of the Ukraine, to investigate Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Kobach said he speaks with the president on a regular basis, but has not spoken to him about an endorsement in the Senate race. Trump endorsed Kobach in the governor’s race, and Kobach helped lead a now-disbanded voter fraud commission established by Trump.
“I have spoken to him about the race, and he has been encouraging to me,” Kobach said.
He said Trump is focusing on his own campaign for president, and it is up to him on giving an endorsement.
In regard to Trump and Kobach speaking about a position for Kobach in Trump’s Cabinet last year, the two did talk about the possibility, but the ones available at the time weren’t a good fit for Kobach, he said. Kobach had served
Kobach said he could do more with running for Senate.
Moving forward toward the election, Kobach plans to talk with people across the state and working on fundraising.
“One is just getting out and meeting Kansans who haven’t met you yet,” he said.