Op-Ed for Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach, by former primary opponent JR Claeys

JR Claeys: “Let’s vote out these appointed Democrat placeholders with a clean sweep in November.”

I don’t know JR Claeys well, but I’ve gained much respect for him over the last year.  He is proving to be the best type of politician:  the type that makes it more about the issues than about the candidate himself.

A former Republican primary opponent of Kris Kobach, JR Claeys is now a full supporter of Kobach in the general election.

I want to emphasize that I hope Claeys stays involved in Kansas politics, and that there was not a prevalent “anti-Claeys” vote in Kansas during the August 2010 primaries.  Like it’s said, “You win some, and you lose some.”  And it often takes a elected politician one or two losses, before he or she gets a victory.

Fair or not, passionate primary voters (in both major parties) tend to vote for the “known” over the “unknown,” when all else is equal.  Claeys did run on a conservative, pro-reform, anti-voting-fraud platform, and that is indeed what conservatives wanted to hear.  But the “known quantity” that was Kris Kobach ended up prevailing.

Today’s Politico highlights the numerous high-profile cases of Republicans — such as Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, New York’s Dede Scozzafava, Florida’s Charlie Crist, and Delaware’s Mike Castle — who have turned AGAINST Republicans following a loss.

In Kansas, retiring 16-year Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, who was theoretically a Republican, did all he could to work against conservative Republicans.  Thornburgh wanted to be Governor, but he was losing about 60-20 to Brownback in one SurveyUSA poll, and he decided against it.  Thornburgh later resigned a few months before his term ended (for no reason), allowing Democratic Governor Mark Parkinson to appoint and give a head start to Democrat Chris Biggs.

Then, there was Secretary of State candidate Elizabeth Ensley.  Thornburgh joined an effort by former “moderate” Republicans like Gov. Bill Graves and former Republican Party  Dennis Jones (who with Thornburgh tried to illegally to open the 2004 primaries to unaffiliated voters, and was blocked by a court) to hand-pick the next Secretary of State.  They chose Ensley, the Shawnee County election commissioner (those local election commissioners are chosen by the Secretary of State).

JR Claeys is not Mike Castle or Ron Thornburgh.

JR Claeys is proving to be a loyal member of the movement Republican team.

The following is an op-ed column authored by JR Claeys:

Kansans have a decision to make on November 2 for Kansas Secretary of State and the options could not be more stark in their differences.

We have a Democrat candidate who denies that voter fraud exists and has no plan to address the problem should it ever become worthy of his attention. He chooses instead to focus on voter apathy, which could very well be attributed to a lack of confidence in our current system — a system full of holes one could drive a truck through.

On the other hand we have a candidate who will enforce the laws, who will defend our right to vote and who will bring integrity back to our elections. Kris Kobach has the experience and know-how to craft, implement and enforce voter identification and registration security procedures that will secure our vote from fraud.

Fraud doesn’t need to be pervasive or widespread to warrant our attention and efforts to combat it in all its forms. I don’t need to remind anyone of the recent elections with subsequent recounts where a handful of votes separated the winners from the losers; including one in Johnson County where a plurality of double-voting allegations are levied and 4 votes placed a Democrat in office.

When Kansas has an identification requirement at the polls, can we trust enforcement to the guy who denies voter fraud exists; who thinks a handful of votes stolen each election cycle is “not a major problem” in Kansas?

The answer is no, we cannot. We have stood by for too long as our elections have become corrupted and voter rolls stained by thousands of ineligible voters.

When I registered to vote for the first time, I registered as a Republican against the will of my parents. I did so because I believe in the sanctity of life, the liberty and responsibility of the individual and the principles of free enterprise. My vote is a statement of those beliefs and no one should be able to take that away from me or anyone else.

The Kansas Secretary of State race may be the most important election on your ballot this November. While the office has sometimes gone unnoticed in the past, it plays an important role in defending the cornerstone of our liberty as the chief elections officer for the state.

The next secretary of state will set the agenda for voter security procedures, including identification procedures, and will be responsible for accurate vote counts and accurate filings for small businesses and other entities.

We need leaders who will advocate for, and enforce, laws that protect our votes, not those who will dismiss the will of the people. My vote is for Kris Kobach and I encourage you to vote for Kris and the entire Republican ticket on Election Day.

Let’s vote out these appointed Democrat placeholders with a clean sweep in November.

J.R. Claeys is a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Kansas Secretary of State, a certified international elections observer, and serves as the Public Relations Director for the Kansas Young Republicans.

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Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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