Colyer won't start general election campaign for governor

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

The Latest on the race  (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says he will wait until the results of the GOP primary race for governor are final before he begins a campaign for the general election.

Colyer responded after Secretary of State Kris Kobach said earlier Wednesday that he would immediately begin campaigning against his Democratic opponent, Laura Kelly.

Kobach led Colyer by fewer than 200 votes after Tuesday's election. The outcome will be determined by thousands of provisional and mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted.

Colyer says he is hopeful and "very confident" the final vote will give him the GOP nomination. But he said he would be happy to work with Kobach should he win.

2:15 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer is planning a news conference Wednesday to discuss his close race with Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the Republican primary for governor.

Kobach said in a Wednesday news conference that the GOP can't wait until the race is resolved next week to start campaigning against Democrats, so he will start immediately.

Election results here

Kobach was leading Colyer by less than 200 votes. He said it's possible that his current advantage will disappear when outstanding votes are counted and that Colyer could end up being the nominee and "taking the baton" of the campaign.

Colyer plans to speak with reporters at 3:30 p.m. 

State elections director Bryan Caskey said the secretary of state's office is estimating that between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional ballots were cast. And mail-in ballots postmarked Tuesday have until Friday to arrive in local election officials' offices.

12:30 p.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the GOP can't wait until the close party primary for governor is resolved next week to start campaigning against Democrats, so he will start immediately.

Kobach was leading Gov. Jeff Colyer in a race too close to call Wednesday morning. Kobach said it's possible that his current 191 vote advantage will disappear when outstanding votes are counted next week and that Colyer could end up being the nominee and "taking the baton" of the campaign.

But he said it's imperative that the party not wait to start the general election campaign, because the Democrats won't wait.

Colyer was not conceding the race. In a statement, he cited the close results and "extraordinary problems" in Johnson County, the state's most populous county.

10:15 a.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is planning a news conference to discuss the results of his close Republican primary race with Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Kobach was having the event at noon Wednesday at the Topeka hotel where his supporters previously gathered for an election night watch party. Watch live here

He led Colyer in the gubernatorial primary by fewer than 200 votes.

The state won't have final results until early next week.

State elections director Bryan Caskey said the secretary of state's office is estimating that between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional ballots were cast. And mail-in ballots postmarked Tuesday have until Friday to arrive in local election officials' offices.

Colyer has not conceded.

9:55 a.m.

Kansas won't have final results for the close Republican primary between Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach until early next week.

Kobach led Wednesday morning by fewer than 200 votes.

But state elections director Bryan Caskey said the secretary of state's office is estimating that between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional ballots were cast. Voters get such ballots when it's not clear whether they are eligible to vote at a particular polling place.

Laura Kelly wins Democratic nomination for governor

State law also allows mail-in ballots postmarked Tuesday to be counted if they arrive by Friday. Caskey said state law prevents county officials from canvassing their results until Monday.

Colyer was not conceding the race. In a statement, he cited the close results and "extraordinary problems" in Johnson County, the state's most populous county.

8:10 a.m.

The Republican primary for Kansas governor is too close to call.

With election officials in Kansas halting the vote count Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Kris Kobach leads incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes. It could be a few days before all absentee votes are counted.

A new state law allows ballots postmarked as of Tuesday to be counted, so long as they arrive three days after Election Day.

Kobach received a late endorsement from President Donald Trump. Colyer received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and had the backing of Kansas political legend Bob Dole.

7:50 a.m.

Immigration hardliner Kris Kobach and Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer remain virtually tied in the tight Republican gubernatorial primary race, with votes still outstanding in the state's most populous county.

It's yet to be seen whether President Donald Trump's late endorsement can push his ally Kobach to victory. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, has advised the White House and served as vice chairman of a now-disbanded election fraud commission.

But Colyer raised more campaign contributions, was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and has the backing of Kansas political legend, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole. Colyer became governor in January, succeeding Sam Brownback.

Only a few hundred votes separate them as they await results from Johnson County, which has nearly 23 percent of the state's voters. The county suffered problems with new voting machines.
 

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