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Kansas Republicans panicked Trump-appointee will cost them a US Senate seat: report

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Donald Trump and Kris Kobach
President Donald Trump and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, screengrab from Noticias Telemundo.

According to a report at Politico, Kansas Republicans are beside themselves that their nominee for an open U.S. Senate seat will be a controversial conservative once appointed by Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud.

With a Senate seat open in the normally reliable Republican state, local leaders would normally be sitting back and looking to coast to victory but 2020 is proving to be more difficult than usual. 

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At issue, the possibility that Kris Kobach may win Tuesday primary over a more mainstream Republican candidate, making holding onto the seat difficult because a sizeable number of Republican voters have told pollsters they would vote for a Democrat over him.

According to the report, “National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Kevin McLaughlin warned that if hardline conservative Kris Kobach wins next Tuesday’s Kansas Senate primary, it could doom the GOP Senate majority — and perhaps even hurt President Donald Trump in a state that hasn’t voted Democratic since 1964.”

Politico reports that “Republicans had mostly rallied behind Rep. Roger Marshall, who was leading Kobach comfortably in internal polling earlier in the summer,” but that was before liberal PACs “meddled” in the choice of candidates by pumping nearly $5 million into as promoting Kobach — who they would rather face — and hammering Marshall.

Adding to GOP woes is the fact that a wide array of incumbent Republican senators are facing ouster or uphill battles to keep their seats, making the GOP has little money to spend in what should have been a sure bet Kansas race.

“Trump has remained on the sidelines in the race, frustrating some Republicans who believe a late endorsement could deliver a victory to Marshall, whom they view as much more electable,” the report states before adding, “An internal survey conducted for the NRSC last week showed that in a general election matchup, only 54 percent of Republican primary voters would back Kobach, while 29 percent would instead to vote for Democrat Barbara Bollier, according to three people familiar with the data, which has been presented to the White House. That much potential crossover support for Bollier, who has the backing of major Kansas and national Democrats, could doom Republicans’ chances in the race.”

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