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Kris Kobach projected to lose Kansas primary, despite backing from Peter Thiel

Kris Kobach projected to lose Kansas primary, despite backing from Peter Thiel


The primary was a last chance for the hardline candidate

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Silicon Valley billionaire Thiel invests in Kobach, Hawley and rise of nationalism
Shelly Yang/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Decision Desk is projecting that Rep. Roger Marshall will win the Republican primary for Senate in Kansas, a huge blow to contender Kris Kobach. It’s also a blow to the political ambitions of billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, who had enthusiastically supported Kobach, offering public support and significant PAC funding to the candidate’s primary bid.

Much of Thiel’s support came through the Free Forever Political Action Committee, which received the overwhelming majority of its funding from Thiel and purchased ads exclusively in support of Kobach and in opposition to Marshall. One recent Free Forever PAC mailing accused Marshall of funding “global warming musicals” and “transgender plays” because of his votes in support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kobach has distinguished himself within Republican circles with his hardline anti-immigration positions, particularly his role in promoting a Muslim registry in the early days of the Trump administration. As a result, many party leaders feared he would cost the party in a general election. Last week, a leader from the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned colleagues that a Kobach victory could doom the party’s chances for retaining control of the Senate, as reported by Politico.