Roger Marshall defeats Kris Kobach in Kansas primary

Rep. Roger Marshall is running well ahead of Kris Kobach in the Republican Senate primary in Kansas. The AP projects that Marshall is the winner.

Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State, is something of a conservative hero for his positions on immigration and his tireless work in opposition to voter fraud. However, many Republicans harbored doubts as to whether Kobach could hold the seat for the GOP, considering that he lost the 2018 governor’s race to a Democrat. Thus Majority Leader McConnell endorsed Marshall. President Trump remained neutral.

Marshall’s lifetime voting scores from the American Conservative Union and Heritage Action — around 75 percent — fall well short of conservative hero status. However, as noted, he is generally considered a considerably stronger general election candidate than Kobach.

That’s not just the view of the Republican establishment. Democrats also seem to share it. As the primary date drew close, a Democratic-leaning PAC ran attack ads against Marshall.

I don’t know enough about Kansas politics to have an opinion on whether Marshall’s perceived electability made him a better choice than the staunchly conservative Kobach. Nor does it matter what I think. Kansas Republicans have now spoken.

Marshall’s opponent in November will be Barbara Bollier, a state Senator and former Republican. Bollier is said to have a war chest of nearly $7.8 million, and some regard this seat, currently held by Republican Pat Roberts, as winnable for the Democrats.

With the GOP holding a slender majority in the Senate and with several seats in real danger of falling to the Dems, the Republicans cannot afford to lose in Kansas.