U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, said he did not spend money on his primary race, but he won in a landslide Tuesday over Inman cafe manager Nick Reinecker.
“We always said that the people of Kansas would re-elect me based on my report card,” Marshall said Tuesday night.
The first-term Congressman from the 1st Congressional District said action on the Farm Bill, improved national security, a stronger economy, and rolled-back regulations — all pointed to promises fulfilled, in his estimation.
“I’ve got a great team, a great staff,” Marshall said, “and I think they’ve done a great job.”
Marshall claimed about 80 percent of the vote over Reinecker. Scott and Trego counties finished their ballot-counting early, and Marshall reaped 89 percent of the vote in the former and 82 percent in the latter.
“I was not nervous,” Marshall said of the primary challenge. Instead of focusing on his race, he said, he is intent on the House Republicans keeping majority control in the chamber for 2019. He was concerned, he said, with the re-election of U.S. Reps. Ron Estes, R-Wichita, and Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, and with the victory in November of the 2nd Congressional District's Republican nominee.
“Those are my marching orders,” he said. The last thing he wants is to see House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, become Speaker of the House, he said.
Marshall, a physician, and Democrat Alan LaPolice, who has worked in education in California and Kansas, will face each other in the Nov. 6 general election. La Police made attempts to capture this Congressional seat as a Republican in 2014, and as an independent in 2016. He ran uncontested in the Democratic primary Tuesday.
Two years ago, the August GOP primary in the 1st District grabbed national attention. Political newcomer Marshall defeated outspoken conservative U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Marshall went on to capture nearly 66 percent of the vote against LaPolice and Libertarian Kerry Burt in November 2016.
This year, it appeared possible Marshall might avoid any challenge in the primary. Reinecker had lost campaign bids for Inman city offices and the State Senate but announced this spring he was running for governor. However, he switched from running in a crowded GOP gubernatorial primary and took on Marshall.
Reinecker called himself the authentic conservative in this contest and attacked Marshall’s vote for the omnibus bill because it worsened the nation’s debt, he said The two split on NAFTA; Marshall considered it beneficial and Reinecker viewed it as harmful. The two crossed paths at candidate forums in Abilene and Phillipsburg, but never appeared in a debate, to Reinecker’s disappointment. Marshall cited Congress’ work schedule this summer.
The Kansas Farm Bureau's political action committee pointedly did not endorse any candidate in the 1st District when it released its choices in the other Congressional races in Kansas. That omission surprised Marshall. Kansas Farm Bureau expressed concern that Marshall would lose his seat on the House Agriculture Committee to gain a seat in the next session on the House Ways and Means Committee. Two weeks later, Kansas Farm Bureau endorsed Marshall.
On election day, Marshall voted early in Great Bend and headed to Wichita to speak to a sorghum producers’ group. As returns came in Tuesday - which also was the birthday of his wife, Laina Marshall - the Marshalls celebrated in their neighbors’ backyard in Great Bend. Marshall spoke of the long-term loyalty of friends and the trust they place in him.
He heads into the general election campaign with a war chest that contained $628,524 as of July 18, compared to LaPolice’s cash reserves of $60,144.