TOPEKA, Kan. — It is just less than a month away from the August 4, 2020 primary election. This means more political ads have been airing on TV, radio and online, but one major Senate candidate is having more ad trouble than others.
The fight is on for republican candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. Two of the major players are Kris Kobach and current U.S. Representative Roger Marshall. President Donald Trump has been a fan of Kobach since his run for Kansas governor in 2018. But the president may be changing his mind about the conservative candidate.
The New York Times reported that President Trump asked the political action committee (PAC), The Club for Growth, to stop running ads targeting Marshall. Kobach said he didn’t know if the reporting by the Times was true.
“The Club for Growth has been opposed to Roger Marshall for many years, not just in this election cycle but in previous cycles,” said Kobach.
In a statement, The Club for Growth PAC said they stopped anti-Marshall ads on June 26. They continued:
“We continue to believe Rep. Marshall is not a strong pro-growth candidate. But the Club for Growth PAC is not endorsing in this race and Club for Growth Action will be deploying resources in other critical House and Senate primaries.”David Mcintosh, President, Club for Growth Action
Kobach was the republican candidate for governor in 2018, losing the seat to current Kansas governor, democrat Laura Kelly. Political analyst Dr. Bob Beatty said this may be a possible reason why the President is trying to get Kobach out.
“Many people in Washington D.C. and the Republican Party don’t want to see him win the primary, because they fear he’ll lose again and then they may lose the U.S. Senate,” explained Dr. Beatty.
Beatty added there is speculation that more republicans are supporting Marshall, because they believe he is more likely to win the Senate seat.
But that’s not the only ad trouble for Kobach. Now, Plains PAC, a new political action committee, is spending $3 million to run ads claiming Kobach has ties to and worked with white nationalists. The ad says Kobach paid someone who posted hate comments against Jews and minorities on a white nationalist website.
In response to the ad claims, Kobach’s campaign released the following statement:
“Kris Kobach doesn’t have ties to white nationalists, and he never has. Last October, when we discovered that an independent contractor had in the past posted statements supporting that garbage, the campaign immediately severed ties with him. Furthermore, the campaign contributions the attack ads refer to are from the Immigration Reform PAC, a pro-ICE group that advocates for border security. Accusing Kris Kobach of accepting contributions from white nationalists is another false attack that was originally launched by Democrats. Mitch McConnell and his DC cronies should keep their lies and dark money out of the Kansas Senate race.”Danedri Herbert, Kobach spokeswoman
The Kobach campaign also has concerns about the Plains PAC, which filed with the Federal Election Commission just last week. The Executive Director of Plains PAC is former Kansas Attorney General staffer CJ Grover, who was an employee of the Attorney General’s office until Tuesday, July 6, 2020, according to the Attorney General’s office. This means Grover could have been working with the PAC while working for the state of Kansas.
In an email from Clint Blaes, Director of Communications for the Kansas Attorney General, he said, “Late afternoon on July 4, CJ informed us of his intention to resign. That was the first knowledge we had of any of this.”
The Kobach campaign also addressed this in their release:
“We are disappointed that McConnell’s establishment attack dogs are peddling misinformation to damage the front-runner in the Republican primary, and we are equally disgusted that Plains PAC has also likely broken the law. The PAC’s executive director was a Kansas state employee in the Attorney General’s office until yesterday. The group formed on July 1, and the ads and media planning were in process before the executive director left state employment. Groups that lie and break the law can’t be trusted.”Danedri Herbert, Kobach spokeswoman
Plain PAC responded with this comment:
“When you can’t respond to the substance of a message you attack the messenger. Kris is attacking me because he can’t defend his decades-long record of delivering failure after failure to Kansas conservatives who have put their faith in him.”CJ Grover, Plains PAC executive director