Kansas Republican suggests Kobach candidacy threatens Senate GOP majority

Kansas Republican suggests Kobach candidacy threatens Senate GOP majority
© Greg Nash

Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallRep. Roger Marshall launches Kansas Senate bid Overnight Energy: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade Democrats, scientists slam Trump administration actions on scientific boards MORE (R-Kan.) on Thursday suggested that former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's candidacy for an open Senate seat risks the party's majority in the upper chamber.

“The last thing you need to be worrying about is keeping a Senate majority for the Republicans," Marshall told The Hill when asked about Kobach's bid to succeed Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsHillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser Ann Coulter, Peter Thiel slated to host fundraiser for Kobach's Senate bid: report Rep. Roger Marshall launches Kansas Senate bid MORE (R-Kan.), who is retiring.

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Marshall, who is also weighing a Senate run, warned that a contentious primary could be harmful to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Harris keeps up 'little dude' attack on Trump after debate MORE (R-Ky.).

“The last thing the president needs, the last thing that Leader McConnell needs, is to be worried about a Kansas primary for the Senate race,” Marshall said.

"I have complete confidence that the Kansans will pick in a state that President Trump won by 20 points, they will pick someone from the Republican primary that can win the statewide race," he added.

Kobach — who has proven to be a controversial figure due to his stances on issues like immigration and voting rights — lost his 2018 gubernatorial race to a Democrat despite Trump carrying the state by a significant margin in 2016.

Marshall is not the first Republican to express concerns over a polarizing GOP candidate putting the Republican majority at risk. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) came out against Kobach's candidacy shortly after his announcement, noting his loss to Gov. Laura Kelly (D).

“Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat. Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and Senate Majority at risk," NRSC press secretary Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement earlier this week. "We know Kansans won’t let that happen and we look forward to watching the Republican candidate they do choose win next fall."

Marshall would be the fourth GOP candidate to enter the race should he decide launch a Senate bid. Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) and Dave Lindstrom, a former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end, have already announced their bids.

Marshall said while he has not ruled out a run, he is currently focused on his work in the House.

"I'm still certainly engaged. My biggest priority is getting USMCA and NAFTA 2.0 across the finish line, and we had the votes to pass it if Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE would just bring it to the floor,” he said, referring to the updated North American Free Trade Agreement that the White House has yet to send to Congress for a vote.