Watkins has voting history criticized, picks up Rep. Marshall's endorsement
Freshman Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall has stepped into the race in a neighboring congressional district by endorsing political newcomer Steve Watkins for the GOP nomination.
The Watkins campaign announced the endorsement Tuesday. The former Army ranger and defense contractor from Topeka is in a seven-person contest in the Aug. 7 primary in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas.
Marshall represents the neighboring 1st District of western and central Kansas and won his seat after defeating former Rep. Tim Huelskamp in the GOP primary in 2016.
Watkins is also under fire for not voting. Senator Steve Fitzgerald says records show Watkins has never cast a ballot in a partisan Kansas election.
In a written statement, Watkins said, “While I was overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq, I was focused primarily on keeping my men and women safe in war zones, and promoting peace and stability -- not the current political happenings in Washington.”
“One thing we know about military officers from a lot of good survey data on Military officers is that they register and vote more than the average citizen. They are quite politically engaged,” Miller said.
The 2nd District seat is open because five-term Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election this year. The winner of the GOP nomination will face Democrat and former Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis.