Kassebaum endorses Bollier in Senate race

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Former Republican U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum on Thursday endorsed Democrat Barbara Bollier over GOP Congressman Roger Marshall in the U.S. Senate race.

“I’ve known Barbara for many years, and she has the character, know-how, and compassion to represent all communities in our state,” Kassebaum said in a statement.

“I was proud to represent Kansans for 18 years in the Senate.  Barbara shares my belief in working with members of both parties to solve problems and get things done.”

Kassebaum’s endorsement puts her at odds with former Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who is backing Marshall in the race and has already been featured in a number of the congressman’s television ads.

Two years ago, Kassebaum endorsed Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly over Republican Kris Kobach in the governor’s race.

And in 2014, her son, William Kassebaum, worked as the campaign treasurer for Democrat Paul Davis’s run for governor against incumbent Sam Brownback.

Kassebaum didn’t endorse in the 2014 governor’s race.f

The Marshall campaign shrugged off the endorsement.

“This endorsement comes as no surprise as Sen. Kassebaum has endorsed only Democrats in recent elections,” campaign manager Eric Pahls said in a statement.

“Our campaign is proud of the endorsement we’ve received from Sen. Bob Dole, Sen. Pat Roberts and Mary Jean Eisenhower and many other prominent Kansans.”

The endorsement follows the playbook that the Kelly campaign laid out two years ago in her successful bid for governor as she assembled of coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans to defeat Kobach.

Kelly first announced support from a couple dozen moderate Republicans and then followed it up with Kassebaum’s endorsement.

At the end of August, the Bollier campaign announced support from 75 current and former Republican elected officials and community leaders across Kansas.

A month later, the Bollier campaign unveiled the Kassebaum endorsement.