By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Incumbent Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins faces strong head
winds as he runs for his second term to represent the Second Congressional
Watkins not only has been charged with voter fraud, he faces
two challengers in the Republican primary.
The Shawnee County District Attorney filed voter fraud
charges, three felonies and one misdemeanor, against Watkins just prior to the
first Republican debate sponsored by KSNT.
Watkins, at the outset of the debate, brushed off the charges.
“This is clearly hyper-political. It comes out moments before
our first debate and three weeks before the election,” Watkins told the
audience in mid-July. “I haven’t done anything wrong. As soon as I realized
that I had put my mailing address instead of my physical address we fixed it.
This is very suspicious, seems highly political.”
Prosecutors accuse Watkins of using a UPS store address rather
than his physical address to vote in last year’s General Election. Watkins says
it was a simple mistake which was rectified once brought to his attention.
Republican challenger Jake LaTurner, the Kansas Treasurer,
sees it differently. LaTurner says the
charges combined with a strong Democratic candidate make it unlikely Watkins
can win in the General Election.
“Those are the reasons that he can’t pull it off,” LaTurner
tells St. Joseph Post. “And, listen, all of this stuff that’s going on, I think
voters are ready to turn the page. They want someone that they can count on to
be consistent and to actually stand up and lead on these issues in Washington,
LaTurner says Republicans will lose the seat if Watkins wins the Tuesday primary.
“He has been charged with multiple felonies. He will absolutely
lose this General Election to the Democrat, the mayor of Topeka,” LaTurner
Democrat De La Isla, the mayor of Topeka, is expected to win
the Democratic nomination.
Shawnee County Commissioner Dennis Taylor is also running in
the Republican primary.