Kansas Republican suggests Kobach candidacy threatens Senate GOP majority

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

Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump Senate Democrats outraise Republicans, but GOP has cash edge 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 RobertsOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump Republicans expect Trump to withdraw controversial Fed nominee 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 TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Bottom Line The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge 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 PelosiBottom Line Immigrants who seek opportunity should comply with longstanding American values Trump's intel moves spark Democratic fury 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.