GOP battle over Kris Kobach takes center stage as Kansas, 4 other states hold congressional primaries

Kris Kobach
(Image credit: Steve Pope/Getty Images)

Five states are holding primaries on Tuesday — Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington — and the most-watched race is the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

Eleven Republicans are vying for a shot to face likely Democratic nominee state Sen. Barbara Bollier, but the race is a dead heat between Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who lost the 2018 gubernatorial race, and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.). Senate Republicans are backing Marshall, warning that a Kobach victory could lead to the state's first Democratic senator in nearly 100 years. Several conservative groups are backing Kobach. A Democratic group has attacked Marshall, effectively helping Kobach. President Trump has not endorsed either candidate.

In Kansas' 2nd Congressional District, newly indicted Rep. Steve Watkins (R) faces a serious primary challenge from state Treasurer Jake LaTurner, with the winner facing Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla (D). In Michigan, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) has a tough rematch against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones; Tlaib beat Jones in the 2018 primary, but Jones held the seat for a few months after besting Tlaib in a concurrent special election to fill the vacant seat. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) faces a potentially serious challenge in Missouri's 1st District from Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush, backed by the democratic-socialist group Justice Democrats.

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Both parties are targeting the Michigan seat being vacated by Rep. Justin Amash (I), with Democrat Hillary Scholten running unopposed and two Republicans — supermarket heir Peter Meijer and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis — battling each other and three trailing candidates. In Arizona, Democrats are trying to oust Rep. David Schweikert (R), and will likely nominate former emergency room doctor Hiral Tipirneni, and Republicans are aiming to unseat Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D), in a primary pitting farmer and lawyer Tiffany Shedd against lawyer Nolan Reidhead.

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