Outside spending in Kansas Senate race grows as Dem group spends $2.6 million
A Democrat-aligned political action committee supporting female candidates has waded into Kansas’ U.S. Senate race, announcing a slate of ads attacking Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall.
The Women Vote! PAC, which is aligned with the prominent group EMILY’s List, announced Tuesday they would spend $2.6 million boosting Democrat state Sen. Barbara Bollier, D-Mission Hills.
The ads take aim at Marshall’s record on health care and recent attack ads his campaign has run against Bollier.
The voiceover hits out against his former ties to a for-profit hospital in Great Bend, as well as his vote for legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“When it comes to your health, Marshall is all about the money,” the voiceover says.
This is not the first time Women Vote! has gotten involved in the race.
In the primary the organization funneled $1.75 million to the Sunflower State PAC, a Democrat-allied group which attacked Marshall in an effort to boost the candidacy of former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was viewed as a more favorable opponent for Bollier.
In a statement, the Marshall campaign hit back by saying the primary ad buys failed and criticized Bollier’s record on abortion issues.
“They spent millions against Dr. Marshall in the primary and lost,” said PJ Hopfinger, Marshall’s press secretary, in a statement. “Their lies and distraction failed then, and they'll fail again."
While Marshall won the primary, the race is generally viewed as competitive. The most recent polling from Aug. 9 showed Bollier trailing Marshall by two points and experts believe this latest ad buy underscores that reality.
Marshall has also benefited from outside spending after One Nation PAC hit the airwaves last month with a $4.2 million ad buy in the state.
This back and forth from outside groups is to be expected, said Bob Beatty, chair of the political science department at Washburn University.
“I call it a war because one side moves and then the other side has to defend or go on the attack,” Beatty said. “Really the philosophy is that you don’t let one side have the field to itself.”
And both candidates have come out with no shortage of ads of their own.
Marshall came under fire for one such spot released last week which critics labeled as deceptive.
In the ad Bollier is depicted as saying she would work to ban guns nationally. In reality the line was taken out of context from prior statements Bollier made about opposing surprise medical billing.
The Marshall campaign has defended the move, saying the ad’s premise was merely to rhetorically ask voters how it would “sound if Bollier’s ads actually matched her liberal record.”
The ads were in response to an effort by Bollier to promote support from moderate Republicans, coming on the heels of her candidacy earning the endorsement of 75 current and former conservative elected officials.
The back-and-forth over the airwaves shows the temperature of the race heating up, Beatty said.
“The battle has begun,” he said. “During the summer Marshall was engaged [in the primary] ... and Bollier was running very positive ads about herself. And now it is Marshall and Bollier engaged.”