clearn.png
Sunday September 22nd, 2019 9:06PM

Kansas treasurer drops Senate bid to challenge Rep. Watkins

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' Republican state treasurer on Wednesday abandoned a campaign for an open Senate seat to challenge a GOP freshman congressman that he describes as vulnerable to Democratic defeat.

Treasurer Jake LaTurner's announcement came little more than a week after former GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer publicly called on him to run for the 2nd District seat in eastern Kansas that Rep. Steve Watkins narrowly won last year. Watkins has faced internet rumors and speculation that he would resign but has tweeted that he won't step down.

LaTurner said in an Associated Press interview before his announcement that the speculation played no role in his decision and that he takes Watkins at his word that he will not resign. Instead, LaTurner said he worries that if Watkins is the GOP nominee, Democrats will pick up the seat, as they nearly did in 2018.

"It should not be a seat that is in play," LaTurner said. "It was in play, big-time, this last election, and it's going to be in play again if he's the nominee for the party."

Watkins, a former Army officer and military contractor, won by less than a percentage point as a political unknown who emerged from a crowded GOP primary. President Donald Trump carried the district easily in 2016, and both LaTurner and Colyer have cited the difference between Trump's showing and Watkins' result two years later.

Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins held the seat for a decade after ousting a one-term Democratic incumbent in 2008, and averaged nearly 60 percent of the vote in four races for re-election. Before that, the seat had been held by Republicans for 12 years. In the 2018 general election, Watkins faced Democrat Paul Davis, a former legislative leader with a statewide profile, because he nearly won the 2014 governor's race.

Watkins' campaign has suggested on Twitter that defeating Davis in a nationally targeted race shows that the 42-year-old congressman is a strong candidate for re-election.

The race will be "a life of service versus a life of self-service," Watkins spokesman Bryan Piligra said in a statement Wednesday.

"Jake LaTurner's entire career has been political ladder-climbing — and that climb ends in August," Piligra said, referencing the primary next year.

Local GOP leaders expressed misgivings about Watkins ahead of the 2018 primary, though many said he later won them over after capturing the nomination with less than 27 percent of the vote. Watkins' campaign said he has voted with Trump some 93 percent of the time.

But University of Kansas political scientist Patrick Miller said last year's election results told some Republicans that Watkins is "someone you can take down."

"The blood has been in the water," Miller said. "Watkins was ripe for a primary challenger to emerge even before any of these rumors started swirling."

The only Democrat running so far is Abbie Hodgson, a 37-year-old former speechwriter for Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who later worked for the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington.

LaTurner, 31, is a former Jenkins staffer who was elected to the Kansas Senate in 2012. He served there until being appointed to fill a vacancy in the treasurer's office in 2017, and won a full, four-year term as treasurer last year. LaTurner launched his U.S. Senate campaign only days after four-term GOP Sen. Pat Roberts announced in January that he wasn't seeking re-election in 2020.

Colyer also urged LaTurner to switch races because the field in the U.S. Senate contest already included six candidates, including Kris Kobach, nationally known for advocating tough immigration policies. Many Republicans fear Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, will win the nomination, alienate moderates and put a normally safe GOP seat at risk.

GOP Rep. Roger Marshall of western Kansas has said he will discuss his plans during an event Saturday at the Kansas State Fair, and he's expected to jump into the Senate race.

Kobach lost the governor's race last year to Democrat Laura Kelly after narrowly defeating Colyer in the GOP primary. Kobach's critics within the GOP argue that he benefits from a crowded field and fractured vote.

LaTurner said such concerns were not a factor in his decision. He said he focused on how Watkins could "turn the (House) seat over to a liberal Democrat."

___

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, General House Election News, College Sports, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Lawyer: City needs to admit guilt in Bucks player's arrest
An attorney for Bucks guard Sterling Brown says Milwaukee's $400,000 offer to settle Brown's lawsuit against the city over his arrest last year is insufficient because it doesn't include an admission of guilt
12:54PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Kansas treasurer drops Senate bid to challenge Rep. Watkins
Kansas' Republican state treasurer has abandoned a campaign for an open U.S. Senate seat to challenge a first-term GOP congressman he describes as vulnerable to Democratic defeat
12:52PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Players in England want racist social media accounts deleted
Footballers in England are asking social media companies to permanently delete accounts after a single racist post and commit greater resources to identifying abusive messages
12:42PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Beckham 'ready to go' for opener as Browns prep for Titans
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. "ready to go" after missing preseason with hip injury
12:35PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Connecticut Sun star raising money for her native Bahamas
Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones involved in relief efforts for her native Bahamas after destruction from Hurricane Dorian
12:32PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Titans place K Ryan Succop on IR, add Cairo Santos
Tennessee Titans place kicker Ryan Succop on injured reserve, add veteran kicker Cairo Santos
11:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
US forward Jayson Tatum to miss 2 games with ankle sprain
U.S. forward Jayson Tatum to miss at least two games with sprained left ankle, will be evaluated next week
6:09AM ( 6 hours ago )
Much at stake heading into final week of WNBA regular season
Much at stake heading into final week of WNBA regular season
1:57PM ( 23 hours ago )
Great Escape: US gets past Turkey 93-92 in OT; Tatum injured
Middleton's free throws late in OT save U.S., as Americans top Turkey 93-92 in World Cup; Tatum sprains ankle
1:12PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Lagarde defends ECB's low rates as she prepares to take over
Incoming European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde is defending the bank's record low rates and other stimulus measures as she prepares to take over with the 19-country eurozone economy facing headwinds from trade wars and Brexit
12:28PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Hong Kong withdraws extradition bill that sparked protests
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announces the withdrawal of an extradition bill that sparked months of demonstrations
11:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
Brexit turmoil continues as lawmakers defy UK's Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going up against Parliament in his bid to take the country out of the European Union in a matter of weeks, even without a departure agreement
10:48AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Pentagon defers 127 building projects to fund border wall
The Pentagon is shifting $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to build a section of President Donald Trump's promised US-Mexico border wall
9:25AM ( 3 hours ago )
Democrats propose spending trillions fighting climate change
5 Democrats have released their plans to fight climate change ahead of town halls on the issue, a sharp contrast to Trump's dismissal of climate science
9:18AM ( 3 hours ago )
Lagarde defends European Central Bank stimulus at hearing
The nominee to succeed Mario Draghi as head of the European Central Bank has defended the bank's record low interest rates and extraordinary stimulus measures deployed in the wake of the Great Recession and eurozone debt crisis
9:10AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Democrats propose spending trillions to fight climate change
Democrats releasing plans to battle climate change ahead of town halls on the issue, a sharp contrast to Trump's dismissal of climate science
6:23AM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: British PM: Parliament could wreck Brexit deal
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain's Parliament is "on the brink of wrecking any deal" his government might be able to make with the European Union on Brexit terms
11:06PM ( 14 hours ago )
California city tests buzzy campaign idea for income
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang wants to give cash to every American each month, one of the most expensive presidential campaign proposals that is getting a trial run in California
10:27PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Elections
UK's Johnson takes aim against opponents of Brexit plans
British Prime Minster Boris Johnson is getting tough with members of his Conservative Party who oppose his Brexit plans
11:52AM ( 2 days ago )
GOP shifts focus to House Dem 'squad' in campaign attacks
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the "squad" of freshmen women of color are emerging as new stars of Republican attacks against Democrats running for Congress.
12:08AM ( 4 days ago )
Nancy who? GOP targets House Dem 'squad' in campaign attacks
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the "squad" of freshmen women of color are emerging as new stars of Republican attacks against Democrats running for Congress.
11:09PM ( 4 days ago )
General House Election News
Clemson's Lawrence closes book on Georgia Tech opener
No worries: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence knows he didn't play his best in opener
4:07PM ( 21 hours ago )
You want drama? No. 10 Auburn supplies plenty of that
No. 10 Auburn has been quite the drama magnet under coach Gus Malzahn
3:21PM ( 21 hours ago )
Ranked teams rule: AP Top 25 opens 23-0 vs unranked teams
Ranked teams rule: AP Top 25 opens 23-0 vs unranked teams, Clemson-Alabama remain 1-2
2:47PM ( 22 hours ago )
College Sports
Tunisian court refuses to free jailed presidential candidate
A Tunisian court has refused to free jailed presidential candidate Nabil Karoui from prison so that he can campaign for the Sept. 15 election
4:00PM ( 21 hours ago )
Biden taps influence industry despite pledge on lobbyists
AP's review of money-in-politics data finds Biden benefiting from influence industry despite pledge to forgo cash from federally registered lobbyists
2:40PM ( 22 hours ago )
In California, a buzzy campaign idea gets a test run
One of the most expensive presidential proposals, giving people money for a basic income, is getting a trial run in California
2:06PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Tagovailoa leads No. 2 Alabama to 42-3 rout of Duke
Tua Tagovailoa threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns as No. 2 Alabama overcame a sluggish start to blow out Duke 42-3 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta
8:35PM ( 3 days ago )
Mississippi State placed on 3 years' probation by NCAA
Mississippi State placed on 3 years' probation by NCAA for football, men's basketball violations
3:44PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump awards Medal of Freedom to NBA star Bob Cousy
Trump presents basketball legend Bob Cousy with Presidential Medal of Freedom
9:13PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Lawyer: City needs to admit guilt in Bucks player's arrest
An attorney for Bucks guard Sterling Brown says Milwaukee's $400,000 offer to settle Brown's lawsuit against the city over his arrest last year is insufficient because it doesn't include an admission of guilt
12:54PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Players in England want racist social media accounts deleted
Footballers in England are asking social media companies to permanently delete accounts after a single racist post and commit greater resources to identifying abusive messages
12:42PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Michigan moves to be 1st state to ban flavored e-cigarettes
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is moving to make Michigan the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes
12:36PM ( 32 minutes ago )
April trial date set in R. Kelly's federal case in Chicago
A judge has set an April 27 trial date in R. Kelly's federal case in Chicago that accuses the R&B star of child pornography and obstruction of justice
12:35PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Beckham 'ready to go' for opener as Browns prep for Titans
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. "ready to go" after missing preseason with hip injury
12:35PM ( 34 minutes ago )