From The Verge:
An upcoming primary in Kansas has been upended by billionaire Peter Thiel, who is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a PAC supporting the hard-line anti-immigration candidate. While traditional Republican Party organizations have backed Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) for the open Senate seat, Thiel has put his resources into a PAC backing Kris Kobach, a figure in the extreme anti-immigration wing of the Republican party, who has been linked to Trump’s Muslim ban and is currently involved in a private crowdfunded effort to build a wall along the southern border.
Much of Thiel’s support for Kobach has come through the Free Forever Political Action Committee, an independent group funded almost entirely by Thiel. Thiel has donated a staggering $850,000 to the group, with the PAC only reporting $30,000 in donations that did not come from the secretive billionaire. Thiel’s most recent donation was $500,000, made in a single lump sum on June 25th. Thiel also personally donated the maximum $5,600 contribution to Kobach’s campaign in September of last year, part of a wave of early donors that included conservative luminaries like Steve Bannon, Rebekah Mercer, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince.
The Free Forever PAC is spending exclusively in support of Kobach’s Senate primary, hoping to win the nomination for the Senate seat recently vacated by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). FEC receipts show that Free Forever PAC has spent more than $900,000 on advertising for the primary, either on behalf of Kobach or against Rep. Marshall. Recent polling has Marshall ahead by a slim margin, but as the August 4th primary date nears, spending has increased, including more than $620,000 in print and digital ad buys since July 13th.
This has become one of the craziest Senate primaries. On one hand, you have Democrats boosting Kobach because they know he’s the weaker candidate:
Kris Kobach, a lightning rod throughout his political career, finds himself at the center of a Republican primary battle for the U.S. Senate. That includes independent groups spending millions on ads for and against him.
One of those efforts comes from Democrats, who think a primary win for Kobach gives their party the best chance to take over the seat for the first time since the Great Depression. They’re boosting the former Kansas secretary of state as the race’s one true conservative while attacking his chief competitor, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, as a “phony” and a “fake.”
The gambit has Marshall, a retired doctor and two-term congressman from western Kansas, crying foul.
On the other hand, you have Moscow Mitch’s allies spending big to try and stop Kobach:
A GOP-aligned group has emerged in Kansas to mount a massive ad campaign to stop the candidacy of Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration firebrand and voter-fraud crusader whose primary campaign has sparked fears among GOP leaders that he could jeopardize a seat crucial to keeping control of the chamber.Plains PAC filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 1 and has booked more than $2 million in television and radio ads to air from now until August 3, the day before the GOP primary, according to Kantar's Campaign Media Analysis Group. The group has informed television stations that it plans to drop negative ads against Kobach, according to sources familiar with the effort.After CNN reported on the effort Monday night, the group publicly announced its plans on Tuesday morning, attacking Kobach's record and saying his loss in the 2018 gubernatorial race means he can't win a Senate race in November. The group said it will launch a multimedia campaign — worth $3 million — with its first ad emphasizing Kobach's “ties to white nationalists.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Barbara Bollier (D. KS) has the momentum:
The presumed Democratic nominee for an open Senate seat in Kansas raised almost $1.3 million more than the top-tier Republican primary candidates combined during the second quarter of the year, despite a GOP candidate loaning $1.5 million to his own campaign.
Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier's finance numbers worry establishment Republicans at a time when many of them fear a new political action committee with Democratic ties could steer the GOP nomination to polarizing conservative Kris Kobach. It is airing a 30-second spot describing rival and western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall as “fake, fake, fake” and weak on issues important to the right even as it calls Kobach “too conservative.”
Bollier, a retired Kansas City-area anesthesiologist, is a former moderate Republican who gained national attention for switching parties at the end of 2018. Her campaign reported raising $3.7 million from April 1 through June 30 and entering July with almost $4.4 million in cash. Her $7.2 million is notable in a state where Democrats often struggle in Senate races and the party hasn't won one since 1932.
Whatever happens on August 4th, let’s get ready to flip this seat. Click here to donate and get involved with Dr. Bollier’s campaign.