Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) won the Senate GOP primary in Kansas on Tuesday night, fighting back former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
While Democrats have failed to secure a Senate seat in the state since the 1930s, the Republican establishment feared ahead of Tuesday’s results that a win in the GOP primary for Kobach might give Democrats an edge, considering Kobach’s controversial illegal immigration measures that have drawn national attention. Kobach had also alienated independent and moderate Republican voters when he lost Kansas governor’s race in 2018, despite a Trump endorsement.
Marshall, a two-term congressman, clinched the support of longtime Sen. Pat Roberts, who will vacate his seat, while also winning the recommendation of former Sen. Bob Dole. Powerful groups like the Kansas Farm Bureau, as well as business and anti-abortion groups also backed Marshall.
President Donald Trump opted to withhold a formal endorsement in the race, in spite of prodding from top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The decision follows a previous failed Trump endorsement for Kobach in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Trump had backed Kobach a day before that Republican primary, which Kobach won by a very slim margin. Kobach was later beat by Democrat Laura Kelly.
Marshall tweeted a video shortly after the race was called Tuesday night featuring a congratulatory call from Trump. On speakerphone, the President applauded Marshall on a “incredible race” and said he has his “total support.” Trump later tweeted on Wednesday morning that Marshall has his “Complete and Total Endorsement.”
Marshall will face Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who CNN reported has broken state fundraising records. Bollier had raised more than $8 million through July — and her campaign said Tuesday night that the total is now $9 million, with donations flying in from outside of the state, the Associated Press reported.
Marshall’s opponent, Bollier, was a former longtime moderate Republican who garnered national attention when she switched parties at the end of 2018.