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Trump endorses Kansas Sen. Moran; primary fight less likely

February 26, 2021 GMT
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Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., gets off a subway train during a break on the second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., gets off a subway train during a break on the second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran for reelection in 2022, early backing that makes it unlikely the two-term Republican will face a serious challenge in the GOP primary.

Trump’s endorsement Thursday evening came less than two weeks after Moran voted with most Republican senators to acquit Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington aimed at stopping the certification of Trump’s election loss. But Moran had voted to certify the results, and earlier this month, the Clay County Republican Party censured him — suggesting he might face an August 2022 primary challenge.

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Kelly Arnold, a former state GOP chairman, said Friday that Trump’s endorsement is “a golden ticket” and “one of the best ways” for Moran to fend off potential challengers.

“I think this can shut the door on that,” Arnold said. “This is a pretty big get.”

In Kansas, Republicans generally are strongly favored to win Senate races once they emerge from the primary. The GOP hasn’t lost a general election race since 1932, even when Democrats field strong challenges, such as state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who raised a record $27 million for her unsuccessful campaign last year against Republican Roger Marshall.

In the November election, Trump carried Kansas by nearly 14 percentage points. His statement praised Moran, the ranking Republican and a former chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, as strong on military and veterans’ issues, as well as gun rights and protecting U.S. borders.

“Senator Jerry Moran is doing a terrific job for the wonderful people of Kansas,” Trump said in his statement. “Jerry has my Complete and Total Endorsement for his re-election in 2022!”

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