Did you see the new face on our 2020 Senate Red to Blue slate?
Barbara Bollier announced her candidacy for Kansas’s soon-to-be open US Senate seat in October—and the buzz about this race has continued to build ever since.
With the presidential race sucking up so much of the political oxygen, we think it’s our duty to turn some heads back toward the Senate right now, especially since without women, Democrats won’t flip it next year. Only two flippable races (Colorado and Arizona) feature men. Women are frontrunners for the rest.
The first thing you need to know about Barbara is that she’s a former Republican—but wait, don’t pass judgement before you hear why she left the Party. She actually is a fighter for progressive causes.
Bollier said her breaking point came last year, when Kansas Republicans inserted language attacking transgender people into the party’s platform. But she’s also been a firm supporter of expanding Medicaid and increasing K-12 school funding, and against the former Governor’s slash and burn tax plan.
Her policy bonafides are great, but just as important is the fact that she’s popular in Kansas (unlike her likely opponent, Kris Kobach, who ran for and lost the governorship last year), and she already has the endorsement of former Governor and HHS secretary under President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius.
The only X factor here is whether current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will resign to run for Senate, something he’s rumored to be considering.
If that happens, Barbara is going to need even more help—fundraising and otherwise. Kansas is still a lean-Republican state, after all. Laura Kelly won the governorship last year thanks to Blue Wave enthusiasm, but also because Kris Kobach is widely seen as extreme and unserious. A stronger Republican challenger like Pompeo is a real threat.