As we’re waiting for results to come in from tonight’s election, here are some insights into what is at stake in this primary election.
Patrick Miller, assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, was asked about the election earlier today.
Questions: What is at stake in this election? What effect will the Trump endorsement have on the governor’s contest? Do you think that a Democrat will have a good chance to win in the 3rd District, U.S. House, in the fall?
Patrick Miller: “Most Republicans are Trump supporters, both in terms of liking him as a person and approving of the job that he’s doing in office. Clearly (Kris) Kobach is not cleaning up in the primary, so there are a lot of Trump-supporting Republicans who are backing other candidates, and there is not a one-to-one relationship between Trump and Kobach support. I would say that if you don’t like Trump and you’re a Republican, you’re probably already decided on voting for Jim Barnett, or at least holding your nose and voting strategically for (Gov. Jeff) Colyer to stop Kobach. I don’t see this hurting Kobach, but it’s hard to gauge where the endorsement falls between a neutral to a net positive. If this moves a hundred more Republicans to show up or decide that Kobach is their candidate, then it matters, especially in a close race. I think that’s about all we can say.
“On paper, (U.S. Rep. Kevin) Yoder is very vulnerable. He is a Republican with an extremely conservative voting record who represents a district that Hillary Clinton won and that has been trending more Democratic in general. He will not be easy to beat since he is an established politician and has a lot of money in the bank and super PAC support, but Democrats definitely have a chance. That said, Democrats can nominate a weaker or a stronger candidate. Brent Welder is likely the weakest of the major Democrats in the race. He did himself major damage when he sent out a fundraising email capitalizing on the murder of two sheriff’s deputies in the line of duty in KCK and chose to remain in the race. Republicans have been advertising for him to Democratic voters and it would seem that they prefer him as an opponent, probably due to that fundraising story and the very liberal image that he has cultivated. Conversely, Sharice Davids or Tom Niermann would likely be stronger candidates for the Democrats, though each with their own strengths that could lead to a winning coalition. So while Democrats will not win the 3rd District today, they could easily throw the race away by nominating a critically flawed candidate.
“In general the election today is critical for both parties for setting up the fall matchups. The individuals they nominate today will have a major impact on what the fall races are like and how competitive they will be.”