Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach enthusiastically shared results of an internal poll showing he possessed a double-digit lead in the Republican primary contest for U.S. Senate.
The poll of likely Republican voters, sponsored by Kobach’s campaign, gave 40% of the vote to the former two-term secretary of state and unsuccessful 2018 candidate for governor. It left U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, of Great Bend, at 22.7%; Senate President Susan Wagle, of Wichita, at 8.3%; former Kansas City Chiefs player Dave Lindstrom at 5.3%; and Overland Park businessman Bob Hamilton at 2.3%. At this stage, 21.3% were undecided.
The survey of 300 people by McLaughlin & Associates in Alexandria, Va., between Feb. 12-16 had a margin of error of 5.6%.
Kobach, of rural Lecompton, said diminished potential of an insurgent campaign by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former Kansas congressman, brought clarity to the GOP contest and affirmed he was the frontrunner.
“We’re getting into a phase where the field seems to be set,” Kobach said. “You’re seeing the undecided moving.”
Wagle, who finds herself in the spotlight of legislative debate on a proposed state constitutional amendment on abortion rights, said the poll from Kobach did nothing to elucidate the contest. She suggested the poll could have deployed loaded questions to sway participants.
“I don’t put stock in any polls now,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of push polls that are rigged.”
The contest in August determines the Republican Party’s nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, who chose not to seek a fifth term in the Senate.
Democrats running for the nomination include state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a former Republican from Mission Hills, and Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi.
Bollier’s campaign has pointed to polls indicating support for Kobach as justification for people to donate to her campaign. She raised $1.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.
“A new poll shows us tied with radical Kris Kobach in Kansas,” the pitch said. “We have a chance to send a voice of reason to Washington instead. This is a majority-making U.S. Senate race.”
However, Kobach responded with a separate poll last week by McLaughlin and Associates that had him defeating Bollier in a hypothetical general election showdown. If the vote occurred in February, based on the poll for Kobach, he would prevail with 47% to her 37.7%.
"This poll confirms what we've known all along. Kansans want a Republican in the U.S. Senate with a known, conservative track record, who has backed Donald Trump since early 2016 and will continue to do so," Kobach said.
Lindstrom, a Johnson County businessman who raised $120,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to top totals for Kobach and Wagle, said two weeks ago that polling by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and political action committees indicated support for Kobach and Wagle was waning.
Lindstrom also said polling by a Marshall-affiliated PAC following the 1st District congressman’s “flash of cash” television advertising blitz barely changed from earlier polling. Marshall was endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.
“Kansans are done with the tired menu of politicians offered up by the political establishment,” Lindstrom.
In January, Marshall had a different assessment of polling in the U.S. Senate race. The poll by Co/Efficient and the Keep Kansas Great PAC, which supports Marshall, had the congressman at 29% followed by Kobach at 28% and Wagle at 6%.
"Our momentum is building by the day," said Eric Pahls, campaign manager for Marshall. "The president cannot afford to lose the majority in the Senate and Kansans know Dr. Marshall is the man for the job.“