Republicans want to make the Senate primary in Kansas next year as smooth and Kris Kobach-free as possible.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s overt courting of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to run in a state the party hasn’t lost a Senate race since 1932 is clearly out of concern that Kobach is capable of ending that streak.
The bench in Kansas is plentiful. There is Rep. Roger Marshall, who met with the NRSC on Tuesday; state Senate President Susan Wagle, a hardline conservative who has said she’s considering it; state Treasurer Jake LaTurner, who recently announced his candidacy; and former Gov. Jeff Colyer, who lost his bid for a full term to Kobach in the Republican primary last year.
It’s that defeat to Kobach that is so concerning. After toppling the ascended governor, the polarizing Kobach—known for his advocacy of election integrity and anti-immigration laws—garnered just 43 percent in a general election loss to Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly.
Unlike any of the other contenders, Pompeo would not only be favored over Kobach but could potentially keep him from running at all.
-- Kyle Trygstad