Rumors were beginning to surface suggesting that first-term Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly would not seek a second term in 2022. Yesterday, she put all doubt aside and announced that she will run for re-election in the next voting cycle.
Gov. Kelly would not expect a major Democratic primary challenge, but local Republicans, buoyed by President Trump and Senator-Elect Roger Marshall’s (R) showing this past November, suggests that a strong GOP nominee will face her in the next general election. Already mentioned as possible Republican candidates are US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Governor and Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, and state Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
Names are surfacing for the 2022 Jayhawk State Governor’s race, as first-term incumbent Laura Kelly (D) looks to run for re-election after winning her office in 2018 after consecutive terms of Republican leadership. The biggest news of the past few days is that US Secretary of State, and former Kansas Congressman, Mike Pompeo (R) not ruling out a run for his state’s top office.
Former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who ascended to the top office when then-Gov. Sam Brownback (R) resigned to accept a position in the Trump Administration but would lose the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary to then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is clearly making moves to enter the 2022 statewide campaign. Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), who eschewed a previous opportunity to run for the US House, is another potential gubernatorial candidate who is not denying his interest in entering the race.
Quelling rumors that he would run for Governor or retire from politics, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election to the US Senate next year. Considering Rep. Roger Marshall’s (R-Great Bend) convincing win in the open Kansas Senate seat this year, Sen. Moran looks to be a cinch to win a third term in 2022 and will likely draw little in the way of serious opposition.
At this point, only three states saw incumbent Senators being defeated: Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Under Georgia law, since both of their Senate races, the regular cycle campaign and the special election, failed to produce a majority winner, a runoff election will be held for each position on January 5th.
In races of note, Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) defied pollsters projecting a Democratic victory for state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and won by nine percentage points. Despite over $100 million being spent against both Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both were re-elected with victory percentages exceeding 58 and 54%, respectively. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (MI) scored a close win over GOP challenger John James; Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recorded strong victories despite polling suggesting that both could lose.
In the four open seat campaigns, the incumbent party won each. The new Senators are Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Two races, in addition to both Georgia Senate seats going to runoffs, remain uncalled but with a clear trend. With only 50% of the votes counted in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) has a strong 62-32% lead. In North Carolina, with the post-election ballot reception period closing on November 12th, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) looks to have a small lead that won’t be surpassed, again despite polling projecting a Democratic victory for party nominee Cal Cunningham.
Assuming the uncalled races remain Republican, the GOP will have a 50-48 advantage heading into the Georgia runoffs, meaning they will retain the majority with a win in at least one of the two Senate races to be decided January 5th.
In another instance of wide-ranging Senate polls, we show two more that may give us our largest spread. Public Policy Polling (10/19-20; 897 KS voters; interactive voice response system) sees the open contest between Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) and state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) as a dead heat tie, 43-43%, with Libertarian Jason Buckley taking 5% preference.
The co/efficient organization saw things wholly differently. According to their survey (10/18-20; 2,453 KS likely voters; online) sees Rep. Marshall opening up his biggest lead of the general election campaign, 51-39%. Most data show the race close, but the Kansas voting history is more in line with the co/efficient result.
The open Kansas race is starting to attract more attention, and three different polls were released yesterday. All three surveys, from the Civiqs organization, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website, the GBAO firm, and the co/efficient organization were all in the field between September 15-29. The polling samples ranged from 600 (GBAO) to 794 (co/efficient). In two of the three, Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) opens leads of four (co/efficient) and seven (Civiqs) percentage points. GBAO found state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) forging a two-point margin.
The Kansas race is beginning to break. Considering the polling history and President Trump running well ahead of the Marshall numbers, it is likely the Republican nominees will pull away as election week approaches.
Public Policy Polling immediately went into the field after the Kansas August 4th primary (8/5-6; 864 KS voters) and sees new Republican nominee Roger Marshall, the 1st District US Representative, running slightly ahead of state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills), 43-42%. This, right after an intense primary campaign that saw Mr. Marshall defeating former gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach and Kansas City businessman Bob Hamilton, 40-26-19 percent.
The Kansas Republican Senate primary went the way of the national GOP leadership as US Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) defeated former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach and businessman Bob Hamilton, among others, last night to claim the party nomination and advance into the general election.
This was perhaps the strangest campaign in the country as Democratic outside organizations were coming into the primary to actually help Kobach win the Republican primary by claiming he is too conservative for Kansas. Their plan failed in that Rep. Marshall won the nomination in a 40-26-19% split over Messrs. Kobach and Hamilton. Rep. Marshall will now face state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) in the general election.
In the 2nd Congressional District, freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka), who was indicted within the past two weeks for voter fraud in an election not his own, fell to state Treasurer Jake LaTurner in last night’s primary battle. Mr. LaTurner ousted Rep. Watkins, 49-34%, thus advancing him into the general election where his opponent will be Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla who was an easy winner on the Democratic side. Mr. LaTurner will be favored to hold the seat.
The open 1st District went to former Lt. Governor Tracey Mann, who will replace Rep. Marshall in the House seat. Mr. Mann becomes a prohibitive favorite in the November election. Former Kansas Republican Party chair Amanda Adkins defeated four intra-party opponents to win the 3rd District party nod. She will now challenge freshman Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) in the Fall.
Voters in five states will cast their ballots today, including the controversial Kansas Senate Republican primary. The state also features three important congressional primaries and one, in the 2nd District, that could deny freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) re-nomination. Electorates are also voting in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. Arizona and Michigan feature Senate races, but the general elections in both states are set. Governors’ races are occurring in Missouri and Washington.
The Daily Kos Elections blog is covering a Medium Buying company Twitter message that identifies the size of the Kansas Senate Republican candidates’ final week media buy just prior to the August 4th primary. The figures do not include outside organization spending, which is likely to be higher than the candidates’ themselves are spending.
According to Medium Buying, plumbing company owner Bob Hamilton leads the way in the final week with reserved media time totaling $284,000, largely self-funded. The ads will again likely feature Mr. Hamilton’s wife who has proved herself a compelling and humorous figure in previously aired spots.
Former gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, who has been the focal point of most of the outside advertising, has only $33,000 in media time reserved, the least among the candidates. Even Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom, a minor tier candidate, is spending $2,000 more than Kobach. Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), a top contender, has $47,000 worth of time reserved.
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