Soon U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall will making an announcement on the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
Since January, Marshall, R-Kan., has been testing the response of Kansas voters on him seeking the nomination.
Marshall made an unannounced stop in Abilene to tour the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library on Tuesday morning.
Marshall, his wife, Laina, and six friends started on a six-county tour to complete a visit to all counties in Kansas.
“Our goal, starting back in January, was to get to all 105 counties before we made a decision on running for the United States Senate,” Marshall said Tuesday morning. “This is the start of the barnstorming tour. Some buddies and I are going to finish out the counties this week.”
He said he has visited 99 counties and six are left.
“I wanted to start this final week of decision here in Abilene,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is not seeking reelection, opening the door for a number of candidates, Republican and Democratic, for the Senate.
The only candidate who yet has filed for the Republican nomination is Gabriel M. Robles of Topeka.
Former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner, Kansas City businessesman Dave Lindstrom, and Kansas Sen. Susan Wagle, R- Wichita, are among those campaigning.
Marshall said he’s real close to making a decision to run, which could come before the end of the week.
Marshall said that he was in third grade when President Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969.
Marshall’s father served for 25 years as the chief of police in El Dorado and was selected to be part of the honor guard at Eisenhower’s funeral in Abilene.
“It was a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. It was raining outside and I thought I was going to Abilene,” Marshall said of Eisenhower’s death. “The president died and I need to be there to pay my respects with my dad.
“He tells me I can’t go. I have to go to school and I was just heartbroken,” he said.
It was five months later in August and his ninth birthday that Marshall visited the final resting place in Abilene for the first time.
“When my dad asked what we wanted to do, what most kids would want to do is go to the lake and go skiing. I asked if I could go to Abilene and see where Ike was buried,” he said.
Marshall, his wife and invited friends Blair Benedict, Brad Cox, Ted Odle, and Mack and Inge Teasley spent a moment in the Place of Meditation, the final resting place of President Eisenhower, Mamie and Doud on Tuesday.
Marshall said he missed the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 7 in Abilene. He was in France to represent the state where Eisenhower grew up to commemorate that anniversary there.
“Everywhere I go people say, ‘Oh. You are from Kansas. That is where Eisenhower is from.’ Just the respect and adoration those people gave me was just incredible,” Marshall said. “Running for U.S. Senate is a big deal. I am trying to do it right.”
He said the Mount Rushmore of Kansas politics included Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Dole and Pat Roberts.
“If this country ever needed a moral compass, it’s now, and that moral compass will come from the Heartland,” he told his friends gathered around the statue of General Eisenhower. “That is what Ike talked about, is that he was from the Heartland.”
Marshall said the flooding in Kansas has been a hot topic on his tour.
“Starting here and going north, the further you get northeast, the bigger the flooding,” he said. “It has been a challenge trying to figure out why and how come.”
He said it wasn’t just the quantity of water but the velocity. He said the U.S. Corps of Engineers maybe didn’t follow best practices.
“In all these years of drought, they have been so scared to drop the water levels in winter. We started off this spring with some pretty high levels,” Marshall said. “Then when the ice melted at the same time, boy, it all increased the velocity.”
He said the Corps has built levees and have eliminated a lot of wetlands.
“If there are more wetlands, it slows down that velocity,” he said. “We are going to have to work with the Corps to solve some of these problems. It’s not unique to Abilene. We have to come up with some long term solutions.”
The Marshall bus tour left Abilene to go to Wellington on Tuesday.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.