Party-switcher puts Kansas Senate seat in play for Democrats

Democrat Barbara Bollier, who left the GOP two years ago, is outraising GOP Rep. Roger Marshall as she expands Democrats' path to a Senate majority

10/20/2020 2:01:00 PM

Democrat Barbara Bollier, who left the GOP two years ago, is outraising GOP Rep. Roger Marshall as she expands Democrats' path to a Senate majority

Democrat Barbara Bollier, who left the GOP two years ago, is outraising GOP Rep. Roger Marshall as she expands Democrats' path to a Senate majority.

Bollier doesn’t need to win most of these rural counties. But she does need to make sure Marshall doesn’t carry them in a blowout. Moxley, the retired GOP legislator, joked that those areas are so conservative that they “spray for Democrats.” But he said Marshall and Trump have created an opening.

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“Barbara, her fealty is to the Constitution and her constituents,” Moxley said. “His fealty, appears, he has said it many, many, many, many times, [is] to Trump.”Operatives in both parties agree Kansas is a margin of error race, and some recent polling has shown Bollier ahead. But Marshall dismisses any suggestion that standing by Trump is at all a problem.

"Tell them, first of all, thank you for suggesting that,” Marshall said when asked about assertions that he’s aligned himself too completely with Trump. “We have been a great supporter of the president's policies, and I'm very proud of his policies. His policies are consistent with Kansas values.”

He had just finished bumping fists and taking pictures on an overpass above Interstate-70, where at least 75 Trump supporters arrived Saturday morning with American flags and Trump banners, donning red and blue Trump hats for a weekly ritual rallying drivers on the highway. Marshall thanked them for supporting the president, with the wind whipping and semi-truck horns blaring on the freeway below. Several of the voters here dismissed Bollier’s GOP backers as “RINOs” — Republicans in Name Only.

“Bob Dole's endorsement is worth all those pretenders put together,” Marshall said of the longtime Kansas senator and former GOP presidential nominee. “I think it's a very small, small, small number of Never Trumpers, and it'll backfire.”Bollier has a massive fundraising advantage in the race: She hauled in $13.5 million in the third quarter, compared to $2.9 million for Marshall. Republican outside groups have worked to make up the difference. Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC run by allies of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has invested nearly $12 million in the race and the National Republican Senatorial Committee has added more than $3 million, according to data from Advertising Analytics. Duty and Country, a Democratic super PAC, has spent $5.5 million.

The attack ads are vicious, and they’re getting noticed. The first question in Council Grove was a voter asking about an ad from Senate Leadership Fund that morphs Bollier’s face with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s. Bollier laughed, said she’d never met Pelosi, and she wouldn’t be a “sheep” for party leadership.

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