(CN) – Republican immigration hardliner and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach launched his campaign for U.S. Senate on Monday.
Kobach announced his bid to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Roberts, who has held the seat for 20 years.
On Monday, Kobach highlighted concern about socialist ideas from left-leaning Democratic candidates and touted his immigration platform, which he said would ensure “illegal aliens” are barred from entering the United States. He said he would stop any efforts from Democrats to provide free health care to undocumented immigrants, which he says will be a driving force if he’s elected to office.
“I will be leading the charge in the Senate for President Trump,” said Kobach.
Along with his family at his side on Monday morning in Leavenworth, Kansas, Kobach emphasized the need for border security in front of a campaign banner with the subhead that said “Build The Wall.” Other campaign slogans included “Less Government, More Liberty” and “Save the Constitution.”
He said he would be a “constitutionalist” senator if elected.
In response to policies proposed by Democrats like universal health care, Kobach said, “You don’t build an America on free stuff. You build it on freedom.”
Kobach filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday morning, which listed him as “Chris” Kobach. The misspelling was quickly corrected.
Kobach was part of the Trump transition team and served on the president’s short-lived voter fraud commission. Trump endorsed Kobach in his bid for the governorship, which he lost to Democrat Laura Kelly.
Kobach has been a staunch hardliner on immigration policies and was mentioned in a January 2019 opinion by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman regarding a citizenship question on the U.S. census.
Internal Commerce Department files showed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added the citizenship question after consulting with President Donald Trump’s most anti-immigrant hardliners, a crew that included Kobach, former White House strategist Steve Bannon and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee claimed the White House has “interfered directly and aggressively” to bar Kobach from testifying on the topic of the Census question.
Ross said the question would help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act, but a group of challengers claimed that Ross was seeking to reduce immigrant communities’ participation in the census.
Furman found Ross “violated public trust” and barred the federal government from asking census-takers about their citizenship status. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court called the Trump administration’s reason for the question “contrived” but absolved Ross of wrongdoing.
On Monday, Kobach acknowledged being consulted about the census question.
“The Democrats and ACLU have lost their minds on this issue,” said Kobach. “They want to be willfully ignorant on this issue.”
He added, “It’s about one person, one vote.”