Kris Kobach has reportedly erased the lead Roger Marshall held in the Kansas Republican Senate primary, and that news has many in the state’s GOP leadership quite worried, James Arkin of Politico wrote on Sunday.
During a Zoom call earlier this week, National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Kevin McLaughlin warned those on the call that if Kobach wins on Tuesday, the seat will almost certainly go to his Democratic challenger in November. The party official also said that Kobach’s name being on the ballot could so energize Democrats to come and vote that the state might not be a shoo-in for President Donald Trump.
Even if Kobach doesn’t hand the presidential electoral votes to the Democrats, McLaughlin said the opposition would win the seat and, after that happens, the Republicans would lose their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Kobach’s rise, despite strong opposition from his own party, reportedly came about due to meddling by those who are trying to make sure the conservatives lose the election. The people who used to be Kobach’s supporters are concerned he can’t win his current contest after already losing a gubernatorial race in 2018.
The problem, according to Arkin, is that Republicans in Kansas haven’t been able to find anyone who can beat him in the primaries. They tried to woo Mike Pompeo to run, but he decided to stay in the Trump administration as the Secretary of State. When Pompeo said no, the party turned to Marshall.
That seemed like a winning strategy for most of the summer, as it’s said he was leading Kobach comfortably via internal polling. However, after a Super PAC dropped $5 million in support of Kobach, the race reportedly became a dead heat. Republicans in the state say the Super PAC is run by Democratic operatives who were just looking to muddy the waters and open a path to the GOP losing the majority in Congress entirely.
Arkin wrote that Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Kansas since the 1930s. But with Kobach on the ballot, conservatives would be forced to sink millions into trying to defend a seat officials believe should have stayed safely in their column.
Trump’s struggle against Joe Biden already has the GOP stretched thin. The party had thought the Kansas race was a contest it wouldn’t need to devote time or resources to in the general election. Meanwhile, Democrats are said to be feeling empowered by making progress in places that had been safely in conservative hands for decades. Kobach’s resurgence, according to those who used to be his most strident supporters, has thrown the election into turmoil across the country.