Sunday, May 27, 2018

Kobach Will Win the Republican Primary

If you hang around the Kansas capitol, there is a lot of buzz about a tight race between Jeff Colyer and Kris Kobach. But I am here to tell you that it will not even be close. Kobach is going to win the primary in August hands down. There are several reasons why this is so.

Reason 1: Colyer = Brownback

Colyer is forever tied to former Governor Brownback. While Brownback scores high on the decency scale, he was extremely unpopular with a 27% approval rating and earned abysmal grades on effective leadership. Brownback stole defeat from the jaws of victory by failing to curb the Kansas Legislature's spending after he won his tax cuts in 2012. He also appeared to be missing in action from the time he was floated as a leading Trump nominee in
March 2017 to the time he finally resigned in January 2018. This extended inter-regnum stole valuable time that Colyer could have used to actually lead the state and develop a brand and some name recognition. Since Colyer was not given this chance, he is effectively equated with Brownback and all the negative baggage that comes along with it.

Reason 2: Colyer Backed Crazy Education Spending

This past month provided Colyer with some great optics. Instead of signing all the bills passed by the  legislature at the end of the 2018 session from his desk in Topeka, he wisely went all across the state to hold signing
ceremonies. What could go wrong? In miscalculation that only Brownback could make, Colyer backed the most recent 500 million dollar education spending increase. He blew a perfect opportunity to lead on an issue that is very important to his base.

Conservative Kansans are not happy with the state supreme court’s apparent meddling in the legislative process on school funding. Colyer could have easily vetoed the new funding bill and proposed a constitutional amendment to remove the supreme court from the legislative process. But he did not. Instead he cheered the bill as a success and handed Kobach another campaign issue that highlights how Brownback-Colyer were fiscally irresponsible with Kansan’s hard earned money.

Reason 3: Kobach has a Bullet-Proof Conservative Brand

Branding is the most important aspect of a campaign. The clearest example of this is the consistent branding that went into the Trump campaign for president. It should serve as a model for anyone intent on winning. Entrepreneur magazine described the three branding elements of logos, slogans and reputation as follows:

  • Logos. Hillary Clinton’s oft-praised logo is just the most recent example of candidates using imagery to build recognition and visibility. Barack Obama’s “O” logo has even been described as close to corporate in nature.
  • Slogans. Slogans and taglines have been a part of politics for generations, as evidenced by 1840’s “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” which was originally part of a full campaign song.
  • Image, voice and reputation. Most importantly, candidates spend time perfecting their image, their voice and how they’re seen by the voting public. This was the most crucial area developed by Donald Trump.

It is clear that Kobach has the strongest "image, voice and reputation." While few really know anything about Colyer, no one has any doubt about Kobach’s conservative bona-fides. He was one of the first national politicians to jump on the Trump train, he regularly appears on FOX News, Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Kansas to endorse him for governor, and Ann Coulter not infrequently says that she prefers Kobach to Trump because of his consistent stand against illegal immigration.


The disparity between Kobach’s conservative brand and Coyler’s lack of a solid fiscal record is a gap to wide to be filled by August 7th. Conservatives are going to choose the candidate they know has a conservative record and who will have the personal grit to win in November. Voters have many proofs that this is Kobach's brand. At the end of the day, there is no contest.

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