Kansas Republicans in federal races largely earned the backing of the state’s most influential agriculture group, with the Kansas Farm Bureau backing U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall in his U.S. Senate bid and State Treasurer Jake LaTurner in his run for the 2nd Congressional District.
The Farm Bureau’s political action committee also endorsed former Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann, who is is running to replace Marshall in the 1st Congressional District, and incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, who represents the 4th Congressional District.
The group did not make a recommendation in the 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids and Republican challenger Amanda Atkins.
"We are proud to represent our members as the Voice of Agriculture, and we believe our grassroots-driven endorsement process does just that," said Rich Felts, president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, in a statement.
The slate of endorsements mirrors the group’s endorsements during the primary, where it made headlines by backing Marshall over former Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Marshall is facing Democrat state Sen. Barbara Bollier in the general election race.
It passed over U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins in favor of LaTurner, who beat Watkins in the primary. LaTurner is facing off against Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla in November’s general election.
Historically, the Farm Bureau has backed Republicans in statewide and congressional races, although the group declined to endorse in the 2018 governor’s race after its preferred candidate, incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, lost to Kobach in the primary.
The endorsement is not a surprise for Marshall -- he has touted the group’s primary support frequently on the campaign trail and in the first debate, where he criticized Bollier as bad for Kansas agriculture.
The issue is especially important given that both candidates are vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.
"She’s out of touch with Kansas agriculture values," Marshall said during the debate.
But the race is tightening, according to internal polling from Marshall obtained by the Kansas City Star, which showed Marshall leading but that the race was within the survey’s margin of error.
That squared with competing data from the Bollier campaign, which showed their candidate with a narrow lead. And nonpartisan polling from August showed Marshall with only a two-point advantage.
Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1939.