WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach slightly widened his lead Tuesday over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the tight Republican race for governor after the state’s second largest county released its count of provisional ballots.
The counting began Monday in the contentious Aug. 7 Republican primary. The work is expected to stretch out over the week — and still might not settle the race.
According to the new Sedgwick County tally, Kobach now leads the sitting governor by just 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast. However, the count out of the state’s largest county, Johnson County, isn’t expected to be released until after its board meets late Tuesday afternoon.
Kobach had a 206-vote lead on Monday, when the state’s 105 counties began reviewing nearly 9,000 provisional ballots to determine how many of them were cast in the Republican primary and how many will be counted. They have until next Monday, Aug. 20, to finish that process and certify the local results.
More than two-thirds of the state’s counties reviewed provisional ballots on the first day of counting this week. Such ballots are given at the polls to voters when their eligibility is in question.
Fourteen smaller counties began canvassing Tuesday. Two others will begin Wednesday, and six counties will start Thursday, including Shawnee and Wyandotte counties. Rooks County in northwest Kansas has scheduled its canvassing for Friday, and six counties have set it for Aug. 20.
If either candidate wants a recount, he must request one by Friday evening, under a Kansas law specific to statewide races. State law has no provision for an automatic recount, no matter how close the race.