Kris Kobach—the mastermind behind Arizona’s immigration law—used his reputation as an anti-immigration crusader to ride to victory in the Republican primary for Kansas Secretary of State last night. Kobach took advantage of the heated debate over the Arizona law to raise his national profile, becoming a regular on Fox News and appearing with the likes of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to rally against illegal immigration.
Kobach’s spot on the Kansas ballot has put the spotlight on a typically low-profile race. All three Republican candidates charged that there was rampant voter fraud in the state, which Kobach explicitly linked to illegal immigration. He now faces incumbent Democrat Chris Biggs in the general election. A former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, Kobach insisted on ideological purity during his tenure and alienated some of the state’s party establishment, which rallied behind his opponents during the primary. But Kobach’s notoriety gained him widespread visibility and the support of right-wing notables like Michelle Malkin and Tom Tancredo. Whether or not Kobach prevails this fall, the race will just be the latest stepping stone in his political ascendancy.