Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall won the Republican primary Tuesday, beating Kris Kobach in the race for the state’s open senate seat.
Marshall, a second-term congressman from the western part of the state, won with 37.2% of the vote, compared to Kobach’s 25.6%, according to the New York Times. He now faces former state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a former Republican who cruised to victory in the Democratic primary, in a competitive race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts.
Marshall’s victory is a win for Republicans across Congress, who argued that a Kobach win would put the seat at risk for a Democratic victory due to his polarizing, hardline stances, Politico reported.
While Marshall vastly out-raised his primary opponent, polls had shown the race growing closer in the last few weeks, especially after outside PACs poured in over $5 million attempting to weaken him, Politico reported.
In addition to being backed by the National Republican Senatorial Conference, Marshall was endorsed by Roberts, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, who served Kansas in the Senate for 27 years.
Kobach’s loss comes almost two years after he lost his race to become Kansas’s next governor in an upset to Democrat Laura Kelly, even after he had received Trump’s endorsement. Republicans blamed his loss on his hardline views on immigration, voting rights and more, the Wichita Eagle reported.
The Cook Political Report rates Kansas’s senate race as “lean Republican,” though Marshall’s victory is likely to give Republicans an even greater advantage going into November, despite Democrats across the country rallying behind Bollier, analysts say.
“Democrats haven’t won a Senate race here since when? The ’30s?” a GOP strategist told The Hill. “Kobach is pretty much the only one who could ruin that.”