GOP candidate wins Kansas primary despite vocal opposition from Trump campaign manager

GOP candidate wins Kansas primary despite vocal opposition from Trump campaign manager

A U.S. Army veteran won the Republican nomination for Kansas's 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday, despite Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's vocal opposition to him. 

Steve Watkins, a political newcomer, beat out six other candidates in a race that included four state legislators and a former Kansas House speaker, according to 13 WIBW in Topeka.

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"I want to say thank you, thank you for believing in me and right now is a time of unity our Republican Party and our success depends on coming together now in this critical time," Watkins said after his victory, according to the TV station. 

The win means Watkins will face former Kansas House minority leader Paul Davis (D) in the November general election. They are running in a race to replace Rep. Lynn JenkinsLynn Haag JenkinsSentencing reform is critical for youth in the justice system Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket MORE (R-Kansas), who did not seek reelection after five terms.

Parscale had voiced strong opposition to Watkins's candidacy and urged voters in a letter to the editor in The Topeka Capital-Journal to not vote for him. 

“Two candidates — Steve Watkins and Dennis Pyle — put out materials with a picture of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE in them, as though they have been endorsed by the president,” Parscale wrote. “In fact, the president has not endorsed them, and they appear to have acquired the pictures without going through the proper copyright procedures.

"I have been on record with my personal choice in this race: I believe my home state would be best served by Caryn Tyson."

Despite his opposition, Watkins earned about 2,000 more votes than Tyson in the race, The Washington Post reported.