Posted on August 10, 2004

Kobach Wins Kansas Republican Congressional Primary

AP, Miami Herald, August 10, 2004

Adam Taff will not seek a re-count of the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary, setting up a November election between Republican Kris Kobach and Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore.

Taff, the former fighter pilot who continued to campaign after a narrow loss to Moore in 2002, conceded last week’s primary to Kobach in a Tuesday morning phone call. Kobach won the primary by a margin of just 207 votes out of nearly 89,000 cast.

“I call on all Republicans to come together . . . and support all of our candidates,” Taff said. “I had my opportunity in 2002. It is now time to support Kris Kobach.”

Taff had until 5 p.m. to ask the Kansas secretary of state’s office for a re-count. His decision came a day after officials in Johnson County completed a count of provisional ballots that boosted Kobach’s lead, which stood at just 87 votes after Tuesday’s primary.

Taff, 39, cut the margin to 81 votes after provisional votes in Douglas and Wyandotte County were counted Friday. But the count of more than 2,500 provisional ballots in Johnson County pushed Kobach, a 38-year-old law professor making his first run for Congress, to victory.

“It appears we are the official nominee,” said Todd Abrajano, Kobach’s campaign manager. “We are ready to go. We are ready to take on Dennis Moore.”

The final, unofficial results gave Kobach 39,129 votes to 38,922 for Taff, with state Rep. Patricia Lightner a distant third with 10,836.

Provisional ballots are those set aside by election officials when they are not sure people are eligible to vote in a particular race or precinct. Each ballot remains in a sealed envelope until a county board of canvassers decides whether it should be counted, then it is opened.

Johnson County had 3,209 provisional ballots, and Monday morning the canvassers decided that 2,533 of them would be counted.

If Taff had sought a re-count and still wound up the loser, his campaign would have had to pay for it. If he won the re-count, the state would have paid.

Both Kobach and Taff pledged to support the eventual winner of the GOP primary and they appeared together at functions following the election.

Moore, 58, who served as Johnson County’s district attorney for 12 years, is seeking his fourth term. In 1998, he ousted the Republican Vince Snowbarger, who served just one term, then beat challengers in 2000 and 2002. He got 50 percent of the vote against Taff two years ago.

Moore said Monday the results of the Republican race “doesn’t change the way I’m going to conduct my campaign.”

“I’m going to be talking about things people care about: affordable health care, defending our country against the threat of terrorism and the fiscal situation — the large budget deficit,” Moore said.

Taff, from Lake Quivira, did not stop campaigning after his loss to Moore in 2002. Kobach, of Overland Park, served on the city council there before spending three years in Washington working for the U.S. Justice Department. He teaches constitutional law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Lightner, 47, has served in the Kansas House for six years.

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