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identity politics
July 8, 2019

"Chris" Kobach has registered to run for one of Kansas' seats in the U.S. Senate.

One might expect the more well-known Kris Kobach, who failed in his Republican bid for Kansas governor last year, to hop in the race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) And sure enough, an hour after registration for "Chris" popped up on the Federal Election Commissions' website, the campaign amended its candidate's name to Kris Kobach, The Daily Beast reports.

The mixup was especially ironic for Kobach, who once headed President Trump's so-called voter fraud commission and dedicated his political career to demanding stricter identification for voters. As part of that fight, Kobach has tried to purge voter rolls of names that don't match registrants' state IDs, which would've included names that were misspelled during registration.

If Kobach's misspelled candidacy wasn't a bad enough omen for his 2020 run, his fellow Republicans have surely sealed the deal. "Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat," National Republican Senate Committee spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez pointed out to the Kansas City Star, and said that Kobach now wants to "simultaneously put President Trump's presidency and Senate majority at risk." Even Jared Suhn, a GOP strategist who oversaw the launch of Kobach's gubernatorial run, told the Star that Kobach "hasn't earned a third shot." Read more criticisms of Kobach, including from his former supporters, at the Kansas City Star. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 2, 2019

Before she started leading the GOP, Ronna McDaniel proudly carried a "Romney" in her name.

The Republican National Committee chairwoman and niece of Senator-elect Mitt Romney spent years using her maiden name in her social media accounts and professional biographies, going by Ronna Romney McDaniel. But she dropped the "Romney" last year during her uncle's Senate run — at President Trump's request, The Washington Post reports.

A former presidential candidate himself, Romney heavily criticized Trump's 2016 run and attacked him again in an op-ed published Tuesday. Trump returned the blow in a Wednesday tweet, and McDaniel definitively sided with Trump in a scorching tweet of her own. The family spat promptly brought up some reminiscing about when McDaniel went by a slightly longer name.

The Romney drop came just after McDaniel replaced Reince Priebus as RNC chair in early 2017, and it wasn't just because "Ronna Romney" is a bit of a tongue twister. Trump asked McDaniel to drop her maiden name after subtly opposing his Senate run, the Post reports. And if McDaniel's Twitter feed and the official RNC website are any indication, Trump's request worked. Kathryn Krawczyk

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