Best advice, if you’re a Republican voter, well…wait at least another week to pull off that bumper sticker that shows you supported the losing candidate in your party’s gubernatorial primary election.
Might be this weekend, maybe next, but you might just leave the sticker alone — unless you are trying to sell your car to a Democrat who will probably try to bargain you down a few bucks figuring you don’t make good choices.
Yes, this election cycle has become more intriguing for political junkies as Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach scrap in the technical, complicated after-Election Day determination of just who is the Republican nominee for the office of governor.
First, the Election Day results were statistically close--191 votes out of the 310,429 cast for all seven Republican gubernatorial candidates separated Colyer and Kobach. Kobach and Colyer won a total of 82 percent of all those votes. By Saturday, that margin had narrowed to 110 votes, Kobach still ahead.
But figuring who won the most of those votes…well, that’s what this week is about. Used to be simple, someone was an obvious winner. This year, it’s not simple. Colyer and Kobach are now scrapping for every possible vote, whether already counted or some of those mailed-in ballots and the provisional ballots.
Provisional? It just means that a voter’s name and address didn’t match the official voter list that the election workers had in front of them on election day. Maybe a voter moved, changed his/ her name (some recent brides, for example, if they take their spouse’s last name, probably had to file provisional ballots even if they wore a wedding ring to vote). Provisional ballots are also some of those unaffiliated voters who declared themselves Republicans at the voting place, so they could participate in the GOP primary.
Those provisional Republican ballots are the key to this race. All week and even next week, county officials will be meeting to decide whether those provisional ballots will be counted, and to weigh whether mailed-in ballots were in fact mailed on Election Day, not the day after.
Oh, there have been tense county canvass meetings over elections for county commissioners or members of the Legislature, but not the top of the state ballot.
The fuss and time spent on the GOP gubernatorial race essentially makes Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, the only major party gubernatorial candidate who will sure-enough be on the November ballot.
And the more sticks and stones that Colyer and Kobach throw at each other—oh, and Kelly is keeping track of ‘em — the more the biggest party in the state divides itself, and moderate Republicans start looking for a candidate who hasn’t been mud wrestling.
And let’s not forget the independent candidate — if he has enough valid signatures on his petition to get a place on the general election ballot. That’s Greg Orman, who has run statewide before, losing to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, four years ago. Already there are questions about his petition signature-gathering, and whether some of those signatures will be loudly, publicly rejected—a little stain on the record of a guy who maintains that he represents a choice for voters who don’t like either major political party.
Could it get any better than this? For Kansas, probably, but for reporters it’s a gold mine. A story, an allegation, a slight by one candidate against another, scraps over whether this ballot or that ballot should be counted. For the news media it’s like a house fire to cover every day.
Oh, and reporters don’t have to worry about those bumper stickers. They shouldn’t be on reporters’ cars, anyway…
Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report. Visit his website at www.hawvernews.com