KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The GOP hasn’t lost a Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but according to a newly released leaked poll, Democrats could break that streak if Kris Kobach becomes the GOP nominee.
The survey, which was conducted June 9th through 11th by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, found former US Attorney and Democrat Barry Grissom leading Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, 52 percent to 42 percent.
According to UMKC Associate Political Science Professor Greg Vonnahme, despite the election being 13 months away, the numbers reflected in the poll are consistent with the results from 2018 when Kobach unsuccessfully ran for governor.
“He was running behind others state wide Republicans by about 10-15 percent,” Vonnahme explained. “That’s similar to the magnitudes that we see in this poll.”
The poll also showed a generic Republican beating a generic Democrat by a 44-36 margin. That number reflects an even greater challenge for Kobach on reaching a wide range of GOP voters.
“It’s not only a poll but it’s also a poll that over sampled Republicans,” he said. “So if anything, the poll skews more heavily Republican, which makes it more striking that Kobach would run behind a potential Democratic challenger.”
In a statement, Kobach campaign manager Steve Drake said that taking a poll this far out from the election was “laughable.”
"It's laughable that anyone is taking seriously a poll on a hypothetical match-up conducted 18 months before the election and prior even to Secretary Kobach's entry into the race. A more recent poll of Republican candidates showed Kobach with a sizable lead and only one other candidate even cracking double digits."
While Kobach may be the biggest name that has declared for the GOP race, some Republicans are hoping US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who formerly represented Kansas in the US House, will still jump into the race, despite his comments indicating he has no plans to do so.
Vonnahme says that “wait and see” attitude could be hurting the coffers of campaigns already up and running.
“National Republicans have been encouraging Republican donors not to commit to a candidate, not to help anyone fundraise, until Pompeo makes a decision about whether or not he wants to run or not,” he explained.
Kobach is expected to be in New York City Wednesday night for a big fundraiser reportedly being hosted by conservative commentator Ann Coulter and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, making some question whether or not the leaked poll was released the morning of the event on purpose.
“Donors primarily want to support candidates who are likely to win,” Vonnahme noted. “So, if they show a poll showing someone’s electoral fortunes are not very good, that will put some donors on ice.”
The UMKC professor also made the point that campaign finance contributions are usually a good indicator of how candidates are doing. Neither Grissom or Kobach have reported any data to the FEC, so it’s hard to tell exactly where they’re at in that regard.
There is a Sept. 30 deadline for third-quarter fundraising.