Senate Republican leaders, alarmed by the prospect that conservative firebrand Kris Kobach could win the GOP primary in Kansas on Tuesday, have endorsed one of his opponents, Rep. Roger Marshall.
Kobach, an anti-immigration firebrand and voter-fraud crusader, is vying to succeed retiring Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. But Republicans fear a victory for him could jeopardize a seat crucial to keeping control of the Senate.
According to a poll released Thursday in The New York Times, 30% of GOP primary voters would support the Democrat in the race if Kobach becomes the nominee.
President Donald Trump has yet to endorse a candidate in the race and told associates on Air Force One last week that he would not intervene in the primary.
"Republican senators are very worried about this," a Republican strategist who was granted anonymity to discuss a delicate matter involving the President told CNN regarding the conversation. "This is what contributes to his lack of connection to Senate Republicans. They don't feel like he has their back."
No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas since 1932, the longest of any state in the country.
Trump in 2018 endorsed Kobach the day before the gubernatorial primary, and Kobach defeated then-Gov. Jeff Colyer by 343 votes. Kobach then lost to now-Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, by 5 percentage points.
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