Kobach’s campaign got off to a bumpy start on Monday morning when his first name was misspelled on paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy.
The campaign rectified the misspelling ― it was filed as “Chris” ― about an hour later.
The 53-year-old publicly announced his candidacy Monday afternoon at an event in Leavenworth, Kansas, standing in front of a banner displaying his name, and the tagline “Build the wall,” referring to the barrier President Donald Trump wants on the U.S. Mexico border.
Once seen as a rising star in his party, Kobach’s path to winning the GOP nomination may be far from smooth. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the political arm focused on electing Republicans to the chamber, has distanced itself from his bid.
Kobach ran for governor in 2018 in Kansas, traditionally a GOP state, and lost to Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly ― souring the NRSC on his Senate prospects.
“Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat,” a NRSC spokeswoman told the Kansas City Star. “Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and the GOP’s) Senate majority at risk.”
The attitude of the party leadership toward him marks a sharp reversal from 2018, when Trump endorsed Kobach in his successful primary race with the Republican governor at the time, Jeff Colyer.
Kobach is a fixture on Fox News and, as Kansas’ secretary of state from 2011 until this January, established a national profile for his hardline conservative views on voting restrictions and immigration.
Kobach reportedly earned a spot on Trump’s shortlist to serve as the administration’s “immigration czar” but was turned down after he submitted his requirements for the role, which included: 24-hour access to a government jet; weekends off to go home to Kansas; the highest possible salary for White House senior staff; walk-in privileges with the president; and a staff of seven people.