Kris Kobach’s entry into the scrum for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacant when Pat Roberts retires could be good news for Democrats in terms of their prospects for having a U.S. Senator from Kansas for the first time since before World War II.
“Around 1:00 on Monday, I heard this strange sound,” said Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty. “I decided later it must be champagne corks coming from the Kansas Democratic headquarters. The Democrats are beside themselves in excitement.”
It’s not that a Democratic candidate wouldn’t have to run a strong campaign. Rather it’s the reaction of the voting public to Kobach in the past that gives them hope.
“This is a very difficult seat to win, against a Jeff Colyer, a Derek Schmidt, a Roger Marshall” said Beatty. “It’s easier. I’m still not saying it’s not difficult, but it’s easier against Kris Kobach just because, one reason is, voters, including a lot of independents and moderate Republicans voted against him once and they certainly may be willing to do it again.”
The question among Republicans is which lane of the party will get a standard-bearer to the general election.
“In Kansas, the Republican primaries over the last number of years, in general have been incredibly conservative,” said Beatty. “Even Jeff Colyer in the governor’s race tried to make the argument, hey, Kobach can’t win. When you go against conservatives, that doesn’t really matter. They want a conservative, a lot of voters in the primary.”
In addition, Kobach’s national profile can attract outside money to his general election opponent, whoever it may be among the Democrats, should he make it out of the primary.