And then there were two. Rep. Keith Esau, an Olathe Republican, announced he will seek the office of Kansas Secretary of State during the annual Olathe Republican Party picnic on Saturday. Esau is the second Republican to throw his hat into the ring. Kansas GOP Chair Kelly Arnold announced an exploratory committee for his candidacy on June 8–the day current Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced he will run for Governor.
Esau told a crowd of Republicans at Cedar Lake that he is the only candidate in the race with 30 years of technology experience.
“I’m an IT guy. When I look at the vast Kansas Secretary of State records and databases, I don’t see it as some paper-pushing office. It is a vital technology platform critical to the economic health of our state,” Esau said. “In addition to elections, the office facilitates commerce, lending, property rights, and related functions that if attacked or manipulated could wreak havoc on Kansas economy.”
Protecting voter registration systems is a critical role of the Secretary of State, according to Esau. Recent disclosures of cyber attacks on voter registration systems in 39 states illustrate the urgency of securing Kansas’ information systems, he said.
“While we must continue to be vigilant watching the front door of our polling places by ensuring proper registration and identification of all voters, we must now also keep watch on the back door–defending our election systems from electronic tampering and manipulation,” Esau said.
Esau has worked in information technology as a software developer and systems auditor. He chairs the House Elections Committee and serves on the Joint Committee for Information Technology. He has served in the Kansas House since 2012.