US Rep. Roger Marshall can’t list himself as `Doc’ on Kansas primary ballot

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Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS) appears on Urban View’s Helping Our Heroes Special, moderated by SiriusXM host Jennifer Hammond at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill on May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

TOPEKA, Kan. — U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall will not be able to use the nickname “Doc” on the August Republican primary ballot as he runs in a crowded field for the U.S. Senate.

The Kansas State Objections Board on Friday rejected Marshall’s request, saying the nickname referred to Marshall’s medical career, and professional accomplishments or titles aren’t allowed on ballots.

Marshall, a Great Bend obstetrician, is competing against immigration hardliner and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach for the Republican nomination for Senate, along with nine other GOP candidates.

Marshall appealed the secretary of state’s ruling that he couldn’t use Roger “Doc” Marshall on the ballot, arguing that it’s a legitimate nickname and that staff, relatives and friends frequently refer to him as “Doc.”

The members of the objections board — Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Democratic Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers — were unanimous in their decision.

Both parties are watching the race because the GOP is battling to hold its 53-47 Senate majority in a difficult year, and many Republicans fear Kobach’s nomination would put a normally safe seat in play. Kobach lost the 2018 governor’s race after alienating moderate Republicans and independent voters.

Kansas law allows candidates to list nicknames on the ballot. Incumbent Kansas House members won reelection in 2018 as Dennis “Boog” Highberger of Lawrence, and Vic “T-Bone” Miller of Topeka.

But it does not allow titles, to avoid giving candidates an advantage because of their professions or because they’re incumbents.

Marshall has argued that his medical credentials mattered in the race, noting that he has treated coronavirus patients in Kansas City, Kansas, and southwest Kansas, where outbreaks have hit the meatpacking industry.

“There’s just never been a more important time to have a physician in some type of a leadership position,” Marshall said in an interview last month.

The main Democratic hopeful for the seat is Dr. Barbara Bollier, who also , like Marshall, is a physician.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 4 and the general election is Nov. 3.

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