U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) is facing a primary contest Tuesday against obstetrician Roger Marshall, pitting what some see as a Tea Party favorite against an “establishment” Republican for Kansas’ 1st Congressional District.
Marshall, the challenging moderate Republican, has outraised and outspent incumbent Huelskamp, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, according to numbers provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Club for Growth and the Koch brothers have invested in Huelskamp’s re-election bid, the Washington Post reports.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Secretary of State Kris Kobach predicted 24 percent of the state’s 1.75 million registered voters will cast ballots, or about 410,000, according to the Associated Press.
Huelskamp, first elected in 2010, is being portrayed by some as an “ineffective obstructionist” but is saying his opponent isn’t a true conservative. He met his wife, Angela, while studying at American University and the couple has four adopted children — including two Haitian girls.
Here’s what you need to know about the “Big First’s” representative in Washington:
1. Huelskamp Says He’s a ‘True Conservative’ Who’s Been Endorsed By Sen. Rand Paul
“I’m 100 percent pro-life…I have never voted for a tax increase… We took on President Obama and we beat him,” Huelskamp said in an ad attacking his opponent.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) endorsed Huelskamp in a YouTube video, saying the Kansas congressman is “a true patriot who fights for liberty and stands up for the Constitution… I need people like Tim to fight alongside me for the Constitution.”
Conservative Review gave him a 91 percent conservative rating in its Liberty Score.
“Our network is focused on this race because Huelskamp is the ultimate champion for our bread and butter economic issues, reining in spending, bringing an end to corporate welfare,” said Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries and a board member AFP and Freedom Partners, according to the Washington Post.
2. Huelskamp Has Sparred With Business-Focused Lobbying Group
After the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Marshall, and is spending $200,000 against the incumbent, Huelskamp told Sean Hannity the business lobby — usually supportive of Republican lawmakers — was upset with his stance on “crony capitalism.”
“‘We’re going to take you out if you say anything about the cronyism in Washington,'” Huelskamp said, according to the Hutchinson News.
The National Review reported the Chamber sees Huelskamp as “a prime target,” and a source said “Huelskamp was almost taken out by a virtual nobody in 2014. The Chamber is going to capitalize now that his challenger is strong.”
3. Married To Wife, Angela, The Huelskamps Have Adopted 4 Kids
Huelskamp, 47, states in his Congressional biography that he met his wife, Angela, while he was a doctoral student at The American University in Washington, D.C., where he obtained a Ph.D. in political science. “[T]ogether they were active in assisting women in crisis pregnancies,” the bio reads.
The couple “turned down various job offers and decided to return home to farm, ranch and raise a family in Fowler,” his bio states.
The couple has two adopted girls from Haiti, Natasha and Rebecca, and two adopted sons, Athan and Alexander, who were already Americans. “Tim enjoys working in his church, hunting, playing sports with his kids, and reading with the family. Meanwhile, Mrs. Huelskamp continues to work promoting and fostering adoptions,” his bio states.
4. With a Net Worth of $56K, Huelskamp Has One of The Lowest Averages in Congress
Although the congressional average net worth is about $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Huelskamp is near the bottom — as of 2014, his estimated net worth is $56,003. That ranks him as 393rd in a House made up of 436 people.
Huelskamp’s average is nearly $500,000 less than the Kansas delegation.
5. The 1st District GOP Primary Is a Dead Heat In Deep-Red Kansas
Tuesday’s GOP primary is in a dead heat, according to polls. Public Opinion Strategies had Huelskamp up 42 percent to Marshall’s 41 percent in mid-June and Fort Hays State University Docking Institute of Public Affairs on July 24 had Huelskamp down 40.3 percent to Marshall’s 40.9 percent.
The winner will be a clear favorite in deep-red Kansas, in a Congressional district that covers more than half the state.