Posted on August 5, 2020

Roger Marshall Defeats Kris Kobach in Kansas Republican Senate Primary

Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle, August 4, 2020

Congressman Roger Marshall defeated Kris Kobach in the Kansas Republican race for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, a victory driven by a party establishment that considered the OB-GYN from Great Bend the best chance of continuing 81 years of uninterrupted GOP control of the state’s Senate seats.

Marshall and Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state, fought bitterly in the primary, engaging in intense mudslinging over who was the true conservative and staunchest ally of President Donald Trump.

The Associated Press called the race for Marshall shortly after 9 p.m. CDT. According to the Kansas secretary of state’s office, Marshall had 37% of the vote to Kobach’s 26% with two-fifths of precincts reporting.

Bob Hamilton, a Kansas City area businessman who spent millions of his own wealth to blanket the airwaves with ads, had 20%.


Marshall, a second-term representative who represents the state’s vast 1st District, will face Democrat Barbara Bollier in the general election. {snip}


The election culminates a stunning fall for Kobach, an informal adviser to Trump who carved out a national reputation as an immigration hard-liner. Kobach had staked his chances of electoral redemption on a primary victory after he lost the 2018 governor’s race to Democrat Laura Kelly.

But groups with ties to national Republicans spent millions urging voters to reject Kobach for fear that he would again lose to a Democrat if nominated. The effort resulted in brutal TV ads highlighting how he hadn’t been chosen for a position in the Trump administration and his campaign had paid a volunteer who posted on white nationalist websites.

Money flowed into the race on all sides. In the final eight days before the election, outside groups booked $2.5 million in pro-Marshall and anti-Kobach TV ads, according to Medium Buying, which tracks ad purchases. A pro-Kobach group bought $419,000 in air time while a “meddling” group running ads likely to prop up Kobach purchased $2.3 million in air time.


National Republican groups, which rallied to Marshall’s side during the primary, are likely to again come to his aid in the fall. {snip}