Kris Kobach: Cutting taxes in Kansas would be my top priority

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 8, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Secretary of State Kris Kobach holding on to a slim lead over Governor Jeff Colyer -- Colyer, rather -- in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Just 191 votes separate the two candidates.

And it could be days before all of the mail-in ballots are actually counted.

Kris Kobach joins me now. We have a call into Colyer and waiting to hear back there. We will be holding -- he will be holding a press conference later this hour.

Good to see you, sir.


BARTIROMO: What's the sales pitch here?

Tell us why you think you should be the winner.

KOBACH: Well, just to correct one thing you said, it's not the mail-in ballots that are yet to be counted. It's the provisional ballots that are yet to be counted.


KOBACH: Those things where if a person shows up at the wrong polling place.

They have already counted the mail-in ballots, and the margin is 191. And next week, we will know what the provisional total is, and we will add them together, and we will see what the final number is.


BARTIROMO: So, Kris, these are the provisional ballots. In other words, if you showed up at the wrong place?

KOBACH: That's right, or if you forgot to bring your photo I.D.

BARTIROMO: How significant could that be? That's -- OK.

KOBACH: So, yes, there will be -- there will be several thousand ballots that will be added to the total.

But it was a very close race. So, 191 margin out of three 300,000, about 300,000 votes cast. So, absolutely, it was a very, very even race.

BARTIROMO: What are your priorities should you become governor?

KOBACH: Number one is cutting taxes.

And that's actually one of the issues that was a subject in the primary election too. I have been very aggressively campaigning on Kansas needs to cut its taxes.

In this part of the Midwest, we're actually the high-tax state. And that's really having a huge detrimental effect on our growth. We were one of only three states that had negative growth in 2017.

And I believe it's because of our high taxes. So I will be pushing that. And we actually have a Democrat that I will be running against in the fall, presumably, who is in favor of previous tax hikes.

So we have also got an independent in the race who's very left-leaning, also a big government person. So, it'll be a classic tax-cutting, small government Republican vs. two left-wing, big government, more taxes that candidates.

BARTIROMO: Do you think that the president has the support that he needs within Congress in terms of getting his agenda passed?

How much of this is also about you as the potential government working with the president?

KOBACH: Well, there's a little bit of that. I have worked with the president quite a bit. I was on his transition team and I advised him on immigration policy both before the election and since his election.

So voters know that I have worked with the president on those issues, as well as on voter fraud. So, to a certain extent, listen, my election may have been something of a referendum on President Trump, but I think most voters would want to have a governor who is in regular contact with the president and can speak on behalf of Kansans or any state to the president.


Let me ask you about the race right now. Why do you think it's so close?

KOBACH: I think it was a classic matchup between someone who's an incumbent, a little more establishment-oriented, vs. myself, a challenger, more conservative, more of an insurgent-type candidate.

So we saw this many times. We have seen it, and we may see it a few more times during the primaries on the Republican side in 2018. Those races tend to be close, especially when you're talking about an incumbent who's going to have some natural advantages, and a challenger who has his own advantages.

BARTIROMO: Secretary, given that you are secretary of state, are you going to recuse yourself? Should there be a recount?

KOBACH: Well, if there's a recount, the secretary of state doesn't actually do any counting. The recounting is actually done by county election officials.

So, really, all the secretary of state does is just receive the numbers from the county. So there's not really a need to recuse. If -- if my opponent insists I recuse, so that the numbers are said to somebody else, we can certainly do that.

But we're not directly involved in the recounting.

BARTIROMO: What's the timing on this, do you think? When do you think we will know?

KOBACH: Well, next week, we should know the totals with all the provisional ballots counted. At that point, it is up to the person who is behind to request or not request a recount.

That could delay things another week or so beyond that.

BARTIROMO: All right, well, we're watching this close race.

Great to have you on the program this afternoon. Thanks so much, Secretary.

KOBACH: My pleasure. Thank you.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Secretary Kobach there.


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