Kate Riga

Kate Riga is a news writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Kate was the political reporter for The Southampton Press. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Philadelphia.

Articles by Kate

Previously, on Keeping Up With Kris Kobach:

[Pan to campaign headquarters, tighten on TV]

News Anchor: It is still too close to call here in the Sunflower State, with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer neck-and-neck in this heated Republican gubernatorial primary. It looks like nothing will be decided tonight, and we will likely have to wait to count those provisional and mail-in ballots.

[Transition to Kobach in a confessional]

Kobach: I don’t know, I just feel really good about my chances. I absolutely deserve it. Do you know how much energy it takes to maintain passion and keep writing speeches about a voter fraud issue that literally does not exist? And I don’t know what it is, just something in the air…I just really feel like I got this.

[Switch to Colyer]

Colyer: He is literally the one who heads the office that tallies the ballots and sets the price of a recount?? How is this fair at all?

Kobach: Wait, what’s he saying? He just doesn’t understand the system. I’m the Kansas secretary of state, for cryin’ out loud, I don’t dirty my own hands with those grimy little ballots! I just tell people how to count them for me. I mean I guess if he really wants me to recuse myself as well, but it seems like an extreme overreaction.

Colyer: Yes, I absolutely want him to recuse himself, I honestly can’t believe I have to say it.

Kobach: [Hastily stuffing ballots into coat pockets] Sorry, what was the question?


The above is a dramatization — but only just. This week, Kobach took us on an ethically dizzying rollercoaster ride as he and Colyer finished just 191 votes apart in the Republican Kansas gubernatorial election primary Tuesday night.

Though Kobach’s position as secretary of state may not specifically dictate that he is personally involved in the counting of the ballots, there is something extremely fishy about his multi-day reluctance to just recuse himself and avoid all appearances of impropriety.

To compound that weirdness, on Thursday, it was revealed that the office Kobach heads gave him 100 more votes than it ought to have. Thomas County Clerk Shelly Harms confirmed that the secretary of state’s office gave Colyer only 422 voters from the county on Election Day when he actually earned 522. May sound like pennies, but it shrank Kobach’s lead to 91 votes.

On top of that, Harms came to a startling conclusion about the mistake: she double checked the scan that the county had sent to Kobach’s office—522 votes for Colyer. It was only at the secretary of state’s office that the vote total somehow got altered. Harms added that her handwriting may be to blame for the mistake.

But, Friday afternoon, after Colyer poked around the Kansas statehouse for more “misplaced ballots,” he went on Fox News and accused Kobach of instructing counties to not count some legitimate mail-in ballots. In an incredible understatement, he said that he’s not “entirely comfortable” with the rest of the vote tallying. No kidding.

We don’t want to jump to any conclusions here. Admittedly, we don’t know for sure that the Case of The Mysterious Voter Disenfranchisement was not accidental. And we don’t know if Colyer’s claims are true. But what we do know is that for someone keen on fabricating voter fraud by scapegoating undocumented immigrants, Kobach is pretty loosey goosey with the integrity of his own election.

After traveling up and down the country, setting up a bogus committee backed by bogus research to attack undocumented immigrants for messing with our elections, Kobach, if not actively tampering with the his own race, is at least putting up a really good show of it.

For hating voter fraud so much that he conducts weekend seminars to teach ballot counters to smudge 5s into 4s, Kris Kobach is our duke of the week.

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A woman called 911 on New York state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D) for “dividing people” as he was campaigning on a street corner and handing out pamphlets emblazoned with “Fighting Back Trump,” according to a late Thursday New York Post report.

Hamilton said the woman grew upset, saying that he’s “dividing people” and “should not be standing here.”

Trump Supporter Calls Police on Senator Hamilton at Subway Station for Speaking to Constituents

A Trump supporter called the police on me today, my crime was speaking to constituents about immigration and Trump's racist policies.The pattern of targeting Black men and women for being Black and alive in the communities we all share has to stop. This pattern of calling the police on Black people going about their business and participating in the life of our country has to stop. From a student taking a break at Yale, to a student eating lunch at Smith College, to a child selling lemonade, to a person having a barbecue in Oakland, to an Oregon state legislator knocking on doors – the list goes on and on. I will continue to speak to neighborhood residents about the important work we must accomplish together – including changing a culture of targeting Black men and women for living while Black.

Posted by Senator Jesse Hamilton on Thursday, August 9, 2018

Per the Post, she then reportedly called the police and complained that Hamilton was against Trump’s immigration policy. The officers who responded to the scene told her that he wasn’t breaking any laws.

“The pattern of targeting Black men and women for being Black and alive in the communities we all share has to stop,” Hamilton wrote on Facebook after the incident.

Spokespeople from Hamilton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The woman’s identity was not reported.

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U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that Andrew Miller, a longtime associate of Roger Stone, is being held in contempt of court due to his refusal to testify before a grand jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller Russia investigation, according to a Friday Washington Post report.

The judge has reportedly stayed the order while Miller’s lawyers appeal the ruling.

Per the Washington Post, Miller had fought a subpoena he received earlier this month, but was overruled by a judge. When a subpoenaed witness refuses to testify before a grand jury, he or she can reportedly end up in jail until the witness agrees to testify.

Mueller has long been interested in Stone due to his statements during the 2016 election that suggested he had advanced knowledge of Russian hacking of the Democratic emails.

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Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claims that there are tapes from President Donald Trump’s years on “The Apprentice” that capture him using the “N-word,” which, by her account, is not an unusual practice for him, according to a Friday Guardian report.

Manigault Newman said she did not personally hear Trump use the racial slur, but heard about its use from three unnamed sources.

Manigault Newman said that she heard Trump use slurs within the White House as well, spitting derogatory terms about Filipinos when discussing Kellyanne Conway’s half-Filipino husband, George.

The revelations come from her upcoming memoir, “UNHINGED.” She writes: “It had finally sunk in that the person I’d thought I’d known so well for so long was actually a racist. Using the N-word was not just the way he talks but, more disturbing, it was how he thought of me and African Americans as a whole.”

Per the Guardian, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the company that owns the rights to the tapes from the Apprentice, has declined to release them, citing “various contractual and legal requirements.”

Manigault Newman also describes what she perceived to be Trump’s racially motivated hatred of President Barack Obama, and his indignation when she told him she was traveling to Haiti — Trump reportedly asked why she would choose such a “shitty” country for her first foreign trip, saying she should have chosen Scotland to play at his golf course there instead. It wouldn’t be the only time he’s referred to Haiti like that. 

Some at the White House have discounted her credibility, since she left on bad terms with the administration. However, this is the second time Manigault Newman has claimed to have tapes that back up her statements, as she said Wednesday that she has recordings of Trump post his ascendance to the presidency.

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