Rep. Vic Miller is taking aim at another legislative candidate's residency claims, accusing a Johnson County Republican of committing voter fraud and daring Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to take action.
Adam Thomas responded by calling it a baseless attack by an opponent with lagging support.
Miller, a Topeka Democrat and attorney, previously launched an unsuccessful objection to Michael Capps, a Wichita Republican who switched races shortly before the filing deadline. Capps on Monday convinced the State Objections Board that he moved to the new location.
After learning of the objection to Capps, Democratic party leaders approached Miller with questions about Thomas. Although too late to file an objection for a primary race, Miller called a news conference Tuesday to shame Republicans for recruiting candidates to seek office outside their home district.
He provided evidence showing Thomas registered to vote with a new Olathe address a day before the filing deadline. The landlord at the new address signed an affidavit saying the candidate doesn't actually live there. When she performed an inspection on Monday, Miller said, the landlord found no evidence of Thomas, his wife or their children. Additionally, Thomas' campaign finance reports list a different Olathe address.
Democrats are watching both houses, Miller said.
"If you're going to be a liar," he said, "it would help to be a good one."
Thomas is seeking office in the 26th District, where Republican incumbent Frank Trimboli declined to seek re-election. Democrat Deann Mitchell is the only other candidate for the seat.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Thomas said he and his wife have purchased a home in the district he hopes to serve but won't take possession of the new residence until July 5. With the couple are expecting a fifth child, he said, his family outgrew the previous home.
"Having many friends in the area, they encouraged me to run for state representative as I share their values and the values of families in District 26," Thomas said. "Given the baseless attack of my opponent and her lagging support, it is clear that she does not share our south Olathe and Spring Hill values."
Miller said he was forwarding his assessment to "Mr. Out To Get Voter Fraud Himself, Kris Kobach," but that he didn't have any confidence in Kobach prosecuting Thomas. Still, Miller is inclined to press the issue because Kobach is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
"I think maybe if you hit him over the head with a sledgehammer case, perhaps he'll see the stars of righteousness and pursue it," Miller said.
The battle to block Capps and Thomas from ballot access isn't over. After the primary results are certified, Miller said, there is another window for objections to be filed.
Additionally, Levi Henry, a political operative for a firm that helps Democrats, said he plans to gather signatures for a petition that will force a citizen grand jury in Sedgwick County to consider voter fraud charges against Capps.
"This would be just another glaring example of Democrats wasting taxpayer dollars," Capps said. "It was clearly demonstrated yesterday that I live in the district and fully meet the requirements to be on the ballot."
Perhaps, Capps said, Democrats should focus instead on their failure to account for money transferred from Hillary Clinton's fundraising operation.
"If Democrats want to impanel a grand jury for a truly worthy cause, they should have one look into what the Kansas Democratic Party did with the $900K in missing campaign funds," Capps said.