PITTSBURG, Kan. — As election season revs up, prominent Kansas GOP members and candidates are making the rounds through rural Kansas with — you guessed it — a bus tour.
On Tuesday, the Keep Kansas Great bus tour stopped at Immigration Park in Pittsburg to urge people to get out and vote for the Republican ticket in November. About 30 people gathered in the pavilion with their yard signs, MAGA hats and Trump 2020 masks, as a lineup of the state’s most beloved Republicans pumped up the crowd to get out and vote.
“I’m taking some time to be out and support our Republican candidates up and down the ticket because I understand, as I suspect all of you do, just how important this election is going to be for the future direction of both our state and our nation,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
The rally had other notable appearances from Kansas House District 3 candidate Chuck Smith, State Rep. Kenneth Collins (R-Mullberry), former governor Jeff Colyer, Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner and US Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), and featured all the major talking points of the GOP.
Marshall, who is running for the coveted US Senate seat currently held by Pat Roberts, was the man of the hour, along with LaTurner who is running for US Congress. Both captured the crowd with mentions of the “China virus” by Marshall, and a call to “yank the speaker’s gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s hand” by LaTurner.
Marshall who is running against Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills), repeatedly pointed out how he had been to southeast Kansas, and Pittsburg specifically, five separate times since the primaries while his opponent has only made the trip once.
“Some people talk about wanting your vote,” he said. “I’m here to earn your vote. Because I respect you. I need to listen. I need to understand your community.”
The other speakers also spoke of how much better Marshall is compared to his opponent.
“Both candidates are medical doctors,” Collins said. “But that’s where the similarity ends.”
“He has always been a man of his word, a man of integrity, but he’s also doing things for people even when nobody’s looking,” Colyer said.
Marshall, who is a doctor, also promised the crowd a COVID-19 vaccine for the vulnerable by Thanksgiving and one available to the general public by January.
“I want you to know since the end of January, every waking moment of every day I’ve been spending trying to make sure we have a safe and reliable vaccine,” he said.
LaTurner, who was the other golden boy at the rally, ran through the typical GOP slogans calling to “build the wall” and “protect the police,” but he also urged people to vote for him so that southeast Kansas can have a voice in Washington.
“For too long it has been the case that our voice has not been heard. It’s not always been heard in the halls of Topeka and it certainly has not always been heard in the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC,” he said. “In fact, the last time we had a native southeast Kansan representing us in the seat that I am running for right now has been over 40 years ago.”
LaTurner also called out the Democratic Party for making what he said are unrealistic promises to the American people.
“The Democratic Party represents an idea that if you just give them enough of your power and enough of your money they’ll solve all your problems for you,” he said. “We know it doesn’t work that way.”
While the others in attendance certainly sang LaTurner and Marshall’s praises, they also pushed on an equally important fight for the GOP in Kansas come November: getting a two-thirds majority in the Kansas House of Representatives and the Senate. Currently, of the 125 seats in the Kansas House 84 are held by Republicans.
“I don’t know if you know this but we have some disagreements between Republican leadership and our governor from time to time on matters here in Kansas,” Schmidt said. “It is so essential that when the dust settles after this November election we have a two-thirds majority in the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka and a two-thirds majority in the Kansas Senate in Topeka because of course two-thirds is the magic number that will allow us to listen to folks back home and not have to worry about a governor’s veto.”
If they could achieve the two-thirds majority in both houses, they could override any veto from Gov. Kelly.
“As you’re out there,” Colyer said. “I want you to get out and talk to your friends and tell them how important it is to vote and how important it is to vote everywhere up and down the ballot.”
After their appearance in Pittsburg, the Keep Kansas Great bus tour stopped in Fort Scott before heading to Louisburg.