A few days ago, my opponent in the Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate, Roger Marshall, claimed on this page that I would lose the general election against Barbara Bollier. Tellingly, Marshall didn’t cite a single poll to support his bogus claim. The reason? Because the polling data doesn’t support his argument.


The most reputable polling firm to poll the general election — and the polling firm that President Trump uses — is McLaughlin and Associates. The McLaughlin poll showed that I would beat Bollier by a 9.3% margin.


In addition, Rasmussen — which rates all of the Senate races in the country — wrote extensively on the Kansas Senate race and concluded that I am likely to beat Bollier in the November general election.


But winning an election is about more than polling. It’s also about performing well in the race.


And when it comes to performance, Roger Marshall is failing miserably. And he knows it. Roger Marshall is afraid to appear in any debate or any forum where the candidates are asked questions side-by-side.


The Kansas GOP was supposed to hold four debates, but after three withering experiences in which Marshall was pressed to explain his liberal votes, he decided that he wasn’t going to debate any more. He refused to participate in the fourth and final debate unless it would be converted into a "forum" where other candidates could not challenge his record. None of the other candidates went along with Marshall’s plea.


Now the fourth debate has been moved to TV. Every candidate has said they’ll participate — except Roger Marshall.


Roger Marshall is also chickening out of every forum in which he must stand side-by-side with his opponents and answer questions. In the last few weeks, he’s ducked out of forums in Wichita, Coffeyville, Winfield, Newton and Osage City.


Why’s he running scared? Because he doesn’t have a good explanation of why he voted against cutting federal spending by 1% (HR 5895), why he voted for amnesty (HR 6136), why he won’t support legislation to save the Kansas cattle ranchers, why he didn’t show up to vote against Nancy Pelosi’s bloated COVID-19 spending bill, and why he supported the liberal John Kasich for president in 2016.


Marshall says Democrats fear him. But that’s a laugh. Why would they fear a candidate who runs away from friendly debates within his own party?


The question for Republican voters is this: if Roger Marshall is too much of a coward to face his Republican opponents, how in the world will he be able to face Democrat Barbara Bollier in the general election? And we don’t need a cowardly Senator who will run away from the fight when Chuck Schumer challenges him.


All Kansans — Republican, Democrat, and unaffiliated — want a Senator in these difficult times who will at least stand up and fight for something. With Roger Marshall, that will never happen.


Kris Kobach is the former Kansas secretary of state and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.