Trump tweets support for Kobach ahead of crucial GOP primary in Kansas

President Trump tweeted his support for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Republican gubernatorial primary in which he is seeking to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer.

“Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas,” Trump tweeted. “He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country - he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military. VOTE TUESDAY!”

Kobach, an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy and the former chair of the president’s federal commission on combating voter fraud that was recently shut down amid a bevy of lawsuits, is one of the more controversial Republicans running for office in the upcoming midterms. He is best-known nationally for his hardline stance on illegal immigration and for advising the Trump administration on immigration, non-citizen voter registration and the 2020 Census. 

Democrats have criticized Kobach over policies they believe suppress voter turnout. No state had gone further than Kansas in requiring prospective voters to provide papers documenting their U.S. citizenship when registering, until a federal judge struck down the law in June as a violation of voting rights.

Last Wednesday, The Kansas City Star and ProPublica account published a story that credited Kobach's rise to political prominence to the attention his immigration cases across the country generated.

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, holds a stack of papers as he meets with then President-elect Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Civil rights advocates say Kobach is trying to hide materials that undercut his public claim that substantial numbers of noncitizens have registered to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents as part of its federal civil lawsuit in Kansas challenging the state's proof-of-citizenship document requirement. It wants to court to remove the confidential designation Kobach placed on materials he was photographed taking into a November meeting. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Trump and Kris Kobach at the president's golf club in New Jersey.  (The Associated Press)

Based on information obtained by open records requests, Kobach earned more than $800,000 for his immigration work, paid by towns and an advocacy group, over 13 years. At least $150,000 of that was paid while he was working as Kansas secretary of state.

Kobach called the report's conclusions "ridiculous." He has told The Star and ProPublica that his work for small cities was part of a mission he believed in and it remains a priority.

"I go around the state. I perceive a lot of people want Kansas to stop giving handouts to illegal aliens," he said. "So that's something I have expertise in and that is an issue on which I will deliver for the people."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.