While the radical anti-tax Club for Growth has not endorsed a candidate in the GOP contest for Kansas’ open Senate seat, they’re taking action to make sure an old adversary goes down. Politico reports that the group has reserved $2.1 million for a buy against Rep. Roger Marshall that will start June 9 and last until the Aug. 4 primary.
Marshall clashed with the Club back in 2016 when he challenged their ally, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, for renomination in the 1st Congressional District. The Club ultimately spent $420,000, which was a serious sum in this rural western Kansas seat, on ads, including a spot declaring that Marshall “supports more Washington debt, opposes full repeal of Obamacare, supports internet sales taxes, and funded a Democrat’s campaign.” Huelskamp had made just too many enemies during his time in Congress, though, and Marshall dispatched him 57-43.
The Club now has the chance to avenge its 2016 defeat, and its intervention in this race could give former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who looks like Marshall’s main rival, a boost. Kobach got some other welcome news earlier this week when businessman Bob Hamilton joined the GOP primary that already included Kansas Turnpike Authority chair Dave Lindstrom and state Senate President Susan Wagle, and Hamilton’s presence could further split the non-Kobach vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies aren’t publicly backing anyone, but they’ve made it clear that they’re opposed to Kobach. Kobach waged a chaotic gubernatorial campaign last cycle that ended in defeat against Democrat Laura Kelly, and his many detractors fear that he could make this general election uncomfortably competitive in a state that hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1932. Major outside groups haven’t aired ads against the former secretary of state, but the NRSC reportedly told state Republicans last year that it would take action to stop him from taking the GOP nomination.
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