The son of a Topeka car dealer, Mr. Kobach went to Harvard and Oxford, where he completed a Ph.D. in political science before earning a law degree. He lost a Kansas congressional race in 2004 and served as state Republican chairman before winning the secretary of state’s office. Kobach served as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's top immigration adviser, moving on to take charge of Department of Justice efforts to tighten border security shortly after the 9/11 attacks. There, he developed a program — the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System — that called for close monitoring of men from Arab and Muslim nations. Kobach also has taught constitutional and immigration law since 2003 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. In 2007 became chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.