Former Kansas Sen. Kassebaum backs Democrat Bollier in Senate race

photo by: Associated Press

In this file photo from March 2012, former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kansas, is pictured at a ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Story updated at 9:34 a.m. Thursday

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum has broken again with fellow Kansas Republicans to support Democrat Barbara Bollier for the seat Kassebaum once held.

Kassebaum said in a statement Thursday that Bollier shares her belief in working with members of both parties and Bollier’s election would be a “positive step” toward bipartisanship in Washington.

Kassebaum also endorsed Democrat Laura Kelly in the 2018 Kansas governor’s race.

Republican nominee Roger Marshall’s campaign manager, Eric Pahls, pointed to the two-term western and central Kansas congressman’s endorsements from retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the 1996 GOP nominee for president. Roberts holds Kassebaum’s former seat.

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

Bollier called the 88-year-old Kassebaum a mentor. Bollier, a Kansas City-area state senator, was a moderate Republican before switching parties at the end of 2018.

Kassebaum served in the Senate from 1979 until 1997 and was among the state’s most popular officials. Her father was Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, the 1936 GOP presidential nominee, and she is the widow of former Tennessee Sen. and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker.


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