GOP ex-Kansas governor endorses Dem over Kobach

Former Republican Kansas Gov. Bill Graves has endorsed Democratic nominee Laura Kelly in this November's gubernatorial election, spurning the GOP's Kris Kobach.

Kelly's campaign released an ad on Tuesday that featured Graves praising her ability to work across party lines to address education, health care and infrastructure problems in the state.

"Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office, and the reason I’m doing that now is because I believe so much is at stake in the state of Kansas," Graves said in the ad. 

"Laura to me has all the qualities, all the capabilities that we’re looking for to lead the state during this difficult time to re-establish the state to what it once was," he added. "Laura has integrity. I know she’ll bring Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems."

ADVERTISEMENT

Graves served as governor of Kansas from 1995 to 2003. He is the most prominent Republican to date to endorse Kelly in this year's election, The Kansas City Star reported.

Kelly, who is currently a state senator, easily won her primary last month to secure the Democratic nomination for governor.

She will face Kobach, the Kansas secretary of State who narrowly defeated sitting Gov. Jeff Colyer in a hotly contested Republican primary.

Despite warnings from national Republicans that that Kobach was a weaker general election contender than Colyer, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE endorsed Kobach just a day before the primary. 

Kobach, a staunch ally of the president, credited Trump for his win. Kobach has gained a national profile for his hard-line rhetoric on immigration and his efforts to pass voter identification laws.