For Steve Watkins and Kris Kobach, President Donald Trump could not have picked a better day to stump for the both of them in Topeka on Saturday night. The crowd was pumped up by the confirmation a few hours earlier of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the media were paying attention to what Trump might say.
Gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach got a lot of mileage out of Trump’s appearance, but Kobach did not have to worry about support from the president or from Kansas conservatives.
Steve Watkins did. An Army veteran and West Point grad, Watkins’ Republican credentials were understandably in doubt after an early flirtation with the Democratic Party. His Democratic opponent in the 2nd District congressional race, Paul Davis, has been trying to sow the seeds of doubt in his TV Commercials.
On Saturday night, the president and Watkins put many of those doubts to rest. Trump sang Watkins’ praises as a warrior, and Watkins in turn saluted Trump and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The irony here, of course, is that many understandably doubted Trump’s credentials as a Republican when he first threw his hat in the presidential ring.
Importantly, too, for Kobach and Watkins, Trump strongly encouraged his audience to vote and get their friends to vote. The timing was good. The right in America had been galvanized by the Kavanaugh hearings. Trump had a receptive audience.
Trump spoke lovingly of those who settled Kansas, “They loved their families. They loved their countries. And they loved their God,” he said. They did not work and suffer, he added, so their ancestors could sit home on Election Day.
Said the president, it is time to choose “between the failure and frustration of the past or a future of American greatness.” Those oddsmakers who put either Paul Davis or Democrat gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly in the lead had better recalculate. Odds now favor Watkins and Kobach.