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Events outside Kansas cloud Senate race

Associated Press - June 15, 2014 10:34 am

The special election for the congressional seat formerly held by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo has added new urgency to pending court decisions in multiple federal lawsuits challenging restrictive voter registration requirements in Kansas.

Even with tea party challenger Milton Wolf’s feisty rhetoric and daily attacks, many Kansas Republicans saw U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts coasting to a comfortable victory in the state’s Aug. 5 Republican primary.

But that assessment was less certain after U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss last week to an underfinanced and largely unknown primary challenger in his Virginia congressional district.

Cantor’s fate raised new questions about how much anti-incumbent sentiment on the right could hurt Roberts.

The three-term Republican incumbent’s supporters contend there are significant differences between him and Cantor, particularly on immigration issues that played a role in Cantor’s race.

Still, Wolf’s backers are buoyed by the results in Virginia and believe Kansas is part of a larger political trend.