Democrat Chris Mann conceded the race for Kansas attorney general to Republican Kris Kobach late Thursday, more than 24 hours after it became clear Kobach had won.
The Associated Press called the race for Kobach on Wednesday, but Mann had refused to concede — despite a virtually insurmountable deficit of 17,383 votes. He reversed course at 8:40 p.m. Thursday in a statement that acknowledged what had been certain for the past day.
“While mail and provisional ballots will still be counted through the weekend, the outcome of the attorney general’s race will likely not change,” Mann said. “I congratulate Kris Kobach on his election to this important office. I ask him — on behalf of all Kansans — to put aside divisive politics and focus on the safety and security of all Kansans.”
Mail ballots that arrive at election offices through Monday will be counted, and local election officials across the state will decide what provisional ballots to count in the coming days. But the size of the vote difference between the two men made it seemingly impossible that Mann would close the gap.
Kobach, who declared victory on election night, earlier signaled he had already begun moving forward with preparations to take office despite the lack of a concession from Mann. While Mann’s concession has no actual bearing on the counting of votes, it marks a belated adherence to what until recent years had been an almost sacrosanct tradition in American elections.
Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state, was ahead of Mann 51% to 49% in unofficial results posted to the Kansas Secretary of State’s website on Thursday.
The contest between the two men had been a hard-fought and bitter one. Mann, a former Wyandotte County prosecutor and Lawrence police officer, assailed Kobach’s divisiveness and competency. Kobach, a controversial figure who built a national reputation for hardline views on illegal immigration and support for voting restrictions in the name of fighting election fraud, painted Mann as too liberal for the position.
Kobach will take office in early January, succeeding Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican who ran for governor instead of reelection.
- Democrat Chris Mann concedes to Kobach, a day after AP called Kansas AG race
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