Joe Montgomery said an avalanche of public criticism has prompted him to withdraw his challenge of the president’s legitimacy. His decision ends a process in which the all-Republican Kansas Objections Board had voted unanimously on Thursday to seek further information before making a final decision as to whether the incumbent Democrat could appear on the ballot in November.
“There has been a great deal of animosity and intimidation directed not only at me, but at people around me,” Montgomery said in the formal request to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. “I don’t wish to burden anyone with more of this negative reaction.”
Montgomery, who works at Kansas State University, filed the objection on Monday, claiming Obama was not a “natural born citizen” because his father was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Kenya, and that U.S. citizenship is conferred “primarily” through the father.
He also charged that Obama had not shown “valid, certified documentary evidence” of being born in the United States.
The White House has previously released documents pointing to Hawaii as the president’s place of birth. They were even verified as official by the Republican governor of Hawaii.
Nevertheless, the Kansas state Objections Board, which consists of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, voted to delay a final decision. The board said it needed more evidence and would reach out to Hawaiian officials for certification of the president’s birth certificate, along with officials in Arizona and Mississippi. The board expressed concern that Obama’s campaign did not appear before the board and only sent a letter with its position. Obama’s campaign attorney Kip Wainscott wrote the board that Montgomery’s objection was “baseless” and that Obama’s eligibility has already been determined by state and federal courts.
The board will re-convene on Monday to pass a motion on Montgomery’s latest request.
“It is a little disappointing that a board that has two out of three members as attorneys who should understand the Constitution made this decision,” said Rep. Ann Mah, a Topeka Democrat and the ranking minority member of the House Elections Committee.
“But we are in Kansas, and Kobach has been waiting for this moment for a long time. The pretense that this has any validity and needs further investigation is ridiculous. Kobach seems to enjoy this type of thing. It panders to his base of birthers.”
Kobach, an informal adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, insisted during the board meeting that he was not acting in a partisan role.
Mah believes the episode has hurt the state’s reputation.
“Kobach is simply playing to the birthers,” she said. “It’s making Kansas the laughing stock again.”