It appears the Democrats have found their candidate to challenge for Sen. Pat Roberts’ (R) open seat. Recently, party-switching state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) announced that she would run for the Senate, and has already earned the endorsement of an individual who appeared to be her strongest primary opponent. Former US Attorney Barry Grissom (D) has withdrawn from the race and announced his endorsement of Sen. Bollier.
Republicans will have a crowded primary at this point featuring US Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), state Sen. President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita), former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom. Rumors continue to persist that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may eventually become a candidate for the position.
A total of 219 House Democrats and one Independent have signed the petition pledge indicating they will vote for at least some version of an impeachment resolution. Doing so would impeach, or indict, the President, and send the charge to the Senate for a potential trial and motion to remove from office. Among the signers are several members who have competitive re-elections, are in Trump districts, or have primary competition. The lone Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), will likely face attacks from both sides as he presumably seeks re-election as an Independent or minor party nominee.
The Democrats supporting impeachment who already face credible general election opposition are (listed alphabetically by name) Reps: Cindy Axne (IA), Gil Cisneros (CA), Sharice Davids (KS), Antonio Delgado (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Andy Kim (NJ), Susie Lee (NV), Elaine Luria (VA), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Chris Pappas (NH), Katie Porter (CA), Harley Rouda (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Abigail Spanberger (VA), and Lauren Underwood (IL).
The first Republican to declare his candidacy for the now open expansive western Kansas 1st Congressional District is former Lt. Governor Tracey Mann. Mr. Mann was appointed to his position by Governor Jeff Colyer (R), when the latter individual ascended to the Governorship after incumbent Sam Brownback (R) accepted a federal appointment. We can expect to see a crowded Republican primary for a seat where the GOP nomination is tantamount to election. Current Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) is running for the state’s open US Senate seat.
The Republican leadership in at least four states is moving toward canceling their primary or caucus, and instead simply awarding all of their delegate votes to President Trump. The states seriously weighing the option include two of the “First Four,” South Carolina and Nevada, the electorates from which are scheduled to vote in February. Kansas and Arizona are the other two states. Others could then follow their lead.
This act is not particularly unusual. Several states in both parties have previously canceled primaries when their party held the Presidency. Such happened for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The leaders argue that party funds spent to help administer the primary election or caucus meetings would be better spent in the general election to support their candidates.
Western Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) has scheduled a formal announcement for Saturday at the Kansas State Fair. It is presumed that Mr. Marshall will make his long-awaited declaration of candidacy for the state’s open US Senate seat. The Congressman had been raising money for such a race throughout the cycle but held back on making the move when it was thought that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might return to the state in order to run.
Rep. Marshall will enter the Republican primary against former Secretary of State and gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, state Senate President Susan Wagle, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs NFL football player Dave Lindstrom.
Yesterday, state Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), who was the first to announce his US Senate candidacy when the seat opened, switched races. Mr. LaTurner will now challenge freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) in the Republican primary. Many leading Republicans, including former Gov. Jeff Colyer, urged LaTurner to make the move. Resignation rumors surrounding Mr. Watkins had begun to surface, but the Congressman put such talk to bed last week. Mr. LaTurner was quoted as saying, however, that Rep. Watkins is “not focused on advancing Trump’s agenda and his campaign is a wreck.”
It is now becoming apparent that more Kansas politicos believe that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not be returning to his home state to run for the open Senate seat. Though the Secretary has repeatedly denied having interest in a new campaign for legislative office, many potential candidates, media pundits, political analysts, and national and local political activists still predicted he would resign to run.
Over the weekend, educator Kali Barnett (D) declared her candidacy for the 1st Congressional District, apparently believing that the seat will be open. She would have little chance against incumbent Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), so her move provides further evidence of the new belief that Mr. Pompeo will not return to Kansas, and that Rep. Marshall will run for the Senate.
Though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said that he is not planning to return to Kansas to run for the state’s open Senate seat, he was more definitive in comments made earlier this week, saying such a move “is off the table.” Apparently, more people are taking Mr. Pompeo’s comments seriously. According to western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall’s (R-Great Bend) staff, contributions of more than $100,000 immediately flowed into Mr. Marshall’s campaign account after the Pompeo comments were published. It is widely believed that the Congressman will run for the Senate should Mr. Pompeo remain in his current position.
Sara Weir, the former president of the National Down Syndrome Society, announced her congressional candidacy yesterday. She has a strong chance of coalescing Republicans around her political bid before the August 2020 primary, which will help her build a strong campaign organization against freshman Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City). Ms. Davids unseated four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in November, and the 3rd District electorate has typically voted in swing fashion. This could be a race to watch.
As expected, Kansas state Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) officially joined the growing open Senate Republican candidate field yesterday. Ms. Wagle, who first entered the state legislature in 1991 and served as Senate President since 2013, had been indicating she would become a statewide candidate when the legislature recessed.
She joins recent candidates Kris Kobach, the former Secretary of State and gubernatorial nominee, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner announced his candidacy soon after Sen. Pat Roberts (R) made public his intention to retire. Former US Attorney Barry Grissom and ex-Rep. Nancy Boyda are the leading Democratic candidates.
Speculation still persists, however, that US Secretary of State and former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo will also run for the Senate. The Kansas primary is not until August 4, 2020, with a candidate filing deadline not until June 1st so much time remains for the field to solidify.
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