Secretary of State Kris Kobach has no business being governor of Kansas.
The question is which candidate in the three-way race could beat the far-right Republican in November.
Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, a moderate who easily won her party’s nomination, has the right demeanor and experience needed to work with the Legislature on pressing issues.
In the other corner is independent Greg Orman, who made a strong run against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in 2014. Orman, with state Sen. John Doll of Garden City as his running mate, is a successful businessman eager to pursue innovative ways to address challenges.
Kobach, meanwhile, only represents extremism that’s hurt Kansas. He’s openly called for a replay of the wretched policies foisted on the state by then-Gov. Sam Brownback — to include rekindling a botched income tax-cut experiment and further undermining public education.
Kansans now must decide whether to hold their noses and vote for a Republican unfit for the office — just because he’s a Republican — or support a more centrist candidate in Kelly or Orman, who would be common-sense problem solvers.
To one trusted voice in southwest Kansas, the only choice for voters is between those two.
Republican Steve Morris of Hugoton, a former state senator and president of the Kansas Senate, knows Kelly and Orman well.
In a recent interview, Morris said both would be good governors. He’s right.
Morris also knows Kobach, whom he dealt with in the Statehouse, must be defeated.
At issue is whether a three-way race eases the path for Kobach.
It’s easy to see how an independent could spoil a Democrat’s chances in deep-red Kansas, and give Kobach an edge. On the other hand, some view Orman as the only hope to defeat Kobach in a state where many Republicans would not support any Democrat.
Because it’s such a quandary for voters, Kelly and Orman should get serious about realistic strategies to stop the ultraconservative Kobach. Instead, the independent and Democratic sides are attacking one other.
The prospects for Kansas would improve if the two crafted a strategy designed to keep Kobach from winning — to include one stepping aside to give the other a one-on-one shot against Kobach.
With Kelly and Orman at odds, an ultraconservative sure to damage Kansas only gains a distinct advantage.