WICHTA, Kan. (KWCH) Kansas Democrats hope to achieve something the party hasn't since the 1930s, that's to win one of the state's U.S. Senate seats.
The front runner for the party Dr. Barbara Bollier made stops in south central Kansas this weekend.
Democratic Candidate for Kansas's U.S. Senate Seat Dr. Barbara Bollier said, "The number one issue that I’m hearing from our Kansans is our healthcare system. It is too complicated, and it’s too expensive. Interestingly, I would be the first woman physician to be elected to the U.S. Senate and knowing that and knowing that healthcare is there number one concern."
The Democratic State Senator is one of three people seeking the Democratic nomination along with Manhattan mayor Usha Reddi and Robert Tillman.
This campaign follows her 2018 decision to leave the Republican Party and join the Democratic Party.
"I realized, the Republican leadership was not interested in what I consider common sense, good public policy. Let’s start with Medicaid expansion," she said.
"That is the tried and true, heart and soul of what this state is based on and what people care about," Dr. Bollier added. "There was no doubt in my mind if I couldn’t get good polices like those to move forward with help on the Republican side, it was time to become a Democrat and do it from that perspective. My values didn’t change, but the party went further off to the side that I was not supporting."
On the campaign trail, she told voters she's reaching out to voters on both sides of the aisle.
Dr. Bollier said, "I have people from all parties and no parties supporting me because they just want common sense representing them."
The question is, will it be enough not just to win the August Primary but November general election.
Three predictors of the race have been released so far in 2020.
One maintains the seat is a likely Republican win.
Two others from Cook Political Report Inside Elections aren't as certain classifying the seat as lean Republican.
Much of the speculation about this race to replace Republican Senator Pat Roberts, who is not running for a fifth term, has been will or won't Secretary of State Mike Pompeo enter the race. That's looking like a no for now.
However, Sedgwick County Republican Party leaders said they don't place a lot of stock on these predictions.
Sedgwick Co. Republican Party Executive Director Ben Sauceda said, "It seems like there is always some site here and there. They had this prediction wrong several times, and we’re not too concerned on that."
He added, "our job is to get the base out, get them energized, keep them energized, and get out the vote."
Republicans also have to narrow down their list of six candidates.
Sauceda said, "This is a consequential election for our nation in 2020, and it’s no different here in Kansas. I believe that’s going to be a driving force."
Some recently released polls are also giving an early indication of this race.
SMART - a transportation union - released a poll matching Dr. Bollier and one of the leading Republican candidates Kris Kobach were tied at 43 percent.
That same survey of 600 Kansans, nearly 70 percent said they didn't know who Dr. Bollier is.
That same week, Kobach's campaign released a poll surveying 300 Kansans, placing Koback in the lead with 47 percent against Dr. Bollier who received 37.7 percent.