Kris Kobach

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

TOPEKA — Establishment Republicans, who’d been coy for months about the GOP primary for Kansas’ open Senate seat, are increasingly putting their thumbs on the scale, hoping to push Rep. Roger Marshall to victory over polarizing conservative Kris Kobach.

A new GOP super-PAC this week launched what it promised will be a $3 million advertising campaign against Kobach with a spot that says he has ties to white supremacists, raising anew an issue that the former Kansas secretary of state has long battled as he advocated tough immigration policies.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas' Republican attorney general plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the state to require new voters to provide papers documenting their citizenship when registering.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts says he will not run for re-election in 2020, opening the door to a parade of candidates announcing a run or considering jumping into the race to replace him. Multiple Republicans are eyeing the seat, and it could be the first time Democrats have a competitive U.S. Senate primary since the 1990s.

Here’s the rundown of who’s seeking the seat in Washington: 

REPUBLICANS

Bob Hamilton

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

MANHATTAN, Kansas — Five Republicans running for the U.S. Senate debated farm issues in Manhattan on Saturday. They all described themselves as loyalists to President Donald Trump.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas law requiring people to prove they are U.S. citizens before registering to vote is unconstitutional, a federal court has ruled.

The decision handed down Wednesday by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel means that no proof of citizenship is needed ahead of this year’s August primary and November general elections.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

A federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday that a Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote is unconstitutional, upholding a judge’s injunction that had banned its use.

A 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Salt Lake City found in two consolidated appeals challenging the Kansas statute that the state law violates the Equal Protection Clause and the National Voter Registration Act.

The panel upheld the permanent injunction that U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson had imposed prohibiting enforcement of the requirement.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A Democrat hasn’t won a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since the early days of the Great Depression.

It took that economic crisis to propel George McGill, riding on Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coattails, to a win. And he served but a single term.

This year, the country finds itself on the cusp of another economic calamity. The COVID-19 epidemic sent the stock market into convulsions, forced all range of business and campaigning into hibernation and put life in limbo.

OLATHE, Kansas — Candidates determined to keep Kansas’ U.S. Senate seats in Republican hands quarreled Saturday over immigration, health care and federal spending, but no topic was more debated than who is the most friendly and in step with President Donald Trump.

In front of a standing-room only crowd at the 2020 Kansas Republican Party convention, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach and state Senate President Susan Wagle argued over which of them was the most conservative and would be Trump’s most loyal foot soldier in the U.S. Senate.

Becky McCray / flickr Creative Commons

The Interstate Crosscheck system, a controversial voter registration tracking program championed by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was labeled effectively “dead” after a legal agreement was announced Tuesday.  

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kris Kobach isn’t fazed that fellow Republicans worry he’s unpopular or too brash in pushing his hard-right views to keep Kansas’ open Senate seat in GOP hands next year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others are so concerned that they’ve spent months urging Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, to step down as U.S. secretary of state and run for the seat Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is leaving. Pompeo in the race would make it far more difficult for Kobach to win the GOP primary in August.

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