Dr. Roger Marshall hasn’t announced whether or not he will challenge Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to represent Kansas’s Big First.
“We are very seriously gauging interests – the level of support I would receive,” Marshall said in a phone interview, adding that he “recognize[s] there’s significant dissatisfaction with our incumbent.”
At this time, however, Marshall won’t say if he does—and if he’s elected—whether he would back House Speaker John Boehner’s next re-election as Speaker.
When asked if Marshall would support Boehner’s leadership, he said, “I greatly respect leadership – part of being a good leader is following those in leadership.” But he added, “I’m not ready to jump on that answer yet.”
The Tea Party-backed Huelskamp has been a consistent thorn in the side of not just the Democrats but also career politicians on the Republican side of the aisle, like Boehner. Huelskamp voted for a Republican alternative to Boehner in both of the last two speakership elections.
This year, Huelskamp voted for one of the declared GOP alternatives to Boehner. Last time around, in early 2013, Huelskamp helped the attempt to organize a challenger-less rebellion against Boehner. Before Huelskamp helped the effort to oust Boehner in early 2013, Boehner ousted him from the Budget and Agriculture committees.
The super PAC aligned with Speaker Boehner—and staffed by his former chief of staff Barry Jackson—American Action Network had been running advertisements targeting, among others, Huelskamp for fighting to defund President Obama’s executive amnesty earlier this year.
Huelskamp said in in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News at the time the ads were on air:
If these guys spent half as much time fighting Obama as they do attacking conservatives, maybe we’d win. This is very clearly Boehner’s group, and [former House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor’s group—it’s very interesting that the former Majority Leader was beaten in a primary, these folks are all connected with the establishment. These ads are obviously inaccurate, we did vote to fund DHS. They’re going after folks who voted against Boehner and folks who voted for Boehner. There’s no difference with these ads. Jim Jordan voted for Boehner, I voted against him. Jim Bridenstine voted no. Numerous others on the list—[Raul] Labrador, [Morgan] Griffith, [Mark] Meadows, [Ted] Yoho, [Louie] Gohmert, it’s a mixture of folks. But again, they can’t carry a tune and can’t carry a message about DHS. We were sent here to do what the American people told us to do, and they want to shoot the messenger instead of actually doing what they promised.
Marshall seems to want to capitalize on Huelskamp’s rocky relationship with House leadership—saying in his interview with Breitbart News that he is a peacemaker and not divisive.
“For the sake of the country – for the sake of what is good for Kansas – we have to figure out what we can agree upon to make this country better,” Marshall told Breitbart News.
Even with the turmoil between Huelskamp and House leadership, a challenger would face a tough battle, as Huelskamp has not yet lost a primary challenge in Kansas.
According to Roll Call, Huelskamp says he will improve his relationship with the new president of the Kansas Farm Bureau.
“I’ve met with all the candidates [for farm bureau president] privately and we’re working together with them,” Huelskamp said to Roll Call. “You know, I just stood up in conference and talked about the Waters of the U.S. rule, which is the No. 1 Farm Bureau priority. I’m the only one who spoke up.”
Marshall said his experience with farming could help him if he were to challenge Huelskamp.
“I’ve probably done every job there is in the Big First – I’ve farmed, I’ve done cattle, I’ve worked construction,” Marshall said, adding he could bring a brand of leadership that listens to constituents.
Marshall has leadership positions with both the Governor’s Ecotourism Commission and with the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission. Marshall told Breitbart News he will make the decision whether or not to run for the seat within the next several months.