The sitting Representative for the 4th Congressional District will be allowed to tell voters that through the prefix Rep. on the August Republican primary ballot.
That decision was handed down Monday by the State Objections Board, citing a specific exception written into statute designed to allow voters to know more easily who they are voting for.
Rep. Ron Estes and Ron M. Estes are both running for the same seat in Congress and the closeness of those two names is the reason for the allowance of the honorific.
“That is the first time in my tenure as Secretary of State that we had such close names nominated for the same office,” said Secretary of State Kris Kobach. “With great care, we applied the exception of 25-619.”
Democrat Laura Lombard had challenged the honorific, saying that it created an unfair advantage to the sitting representative, particularly since she contended that the title would also have to be on the ballot in the fall. Kobach clarified that barring another similar name problem, which would not be there after the primary, that the title would not be on the fall ballot.
“Looking at this as the official in charge of implementing this particular exception, the question of course is, is it sufficient to avoid voter confusion,” said Kobach. “I had no idea. In fact, when I heard Ron M. Estes, I think my first thought was, oh that’s Congressman Estes. I had no idea which one was G and which one was M and I consider myself reasonably attuned to the political events of the state.”
Kobach, of course, is a candidate for Governor and former chair of the state party. The Board voted 3-0 to allow the title on the August ballot. Lombard has her own primary hurdle against special election nominee James Thompson, who has considerably more name identity than she does because of that previous campaign. The winners of the Republican and Democrat primaries will meet in November.