Three candidates running in Republican primary for Kansas Attorney General

Kris Kobach, Tony Mattivi, and Kellie Warren are running in the August 2, 2022, Republican primary for Kansas attorney general. Incumbent Derek Schmidt (R) is running in the Republican primary for Kansas governor.

Kobach served as the Kansas secretary of state from 2011 to 2019. Kobach ran unsuccessfully for Kansas governor in 2018, losing to Laura Kelly (D) in the general election. Kobach has campaigned on creating a litigation team that would sue the Biden administration for what he describes as violating federal law. Kobach has pointed to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) lawsuits against the federal government as a model for Kansas: “My objective is for Kansas to stand side by side with Texas so that more lawsuits can be brought and people will see that there are two states leading the charge against the Biden administration.” In addition to creating a litigation team within the attorney general’s office, Kobach has listed prosecuting voter fraud, restoring what he calls pro-life laws, removing fees on concealed carry licenses, and cracking down on scams as his top issues.

Mattivi is a retired U.S. assistant attorney who worked for the U.S. Department of Justice. Mattivi has run on his experience as a prosecutor, saying voters should choose him because “you’ll have a choice and it’s a choice between the career prosecutor or the career politician. And I hope you agree with me that our chief law enforcement official ought to be a law enforcement official.” Mattivi has said his focus as attorney general will be fighting crime: “I’m not going to sit in my office thinking about creative ways to sue the federal government because there are other things that are more important to our state like keeping us safe.” He has listed fighting government overreach, backing law enforcement, protecting the Constitution, and enforcing the law as his top issues.

Warren is a member of the Kansas Senate, a position to which she was first elected in 2020. In 2018, she was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. Warren has said voters should choose her because of her experience in the legislature: “With me, you have the record you can depend on of a battle-tested conservative who fights and wins. I win tough elections. I win policy battles that you care about. And I win in the courtroom as well. That’s what we need in our next attorney general.” Warren has said she has a track record of defeating Democrats in elections, and has referenced Kobach’s loss to Gov. Kelly (D) in 2018 as a warning to voters: “Losing elections has consequences. We are paying a high price in Kansas for having lost in 2018. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.” Warren has listed defending the Constitution, protecting the Second Amendment, and limiting government overreach as top issues.

Kobach, Mattivi, and Warren have expressed support for the Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the ballot on August 2, 2022. The measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.

The Kansas attorney general is the chief law enforcement agency for the state. The attorney general provides legal services to state agencies and boards, protects consumers from fraud, assists the victims of crime and defends the state in civil proceedings. The attorney general is directly elected in 43 states. The attorney general is appointed by the state legislature in Maine, by the state Supreme Court in Tennessee, and by the governor in the remaining five states.