Marshall fights to be 'Doc' on ballot for Kansas Senate race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A leading Republican candidate for an open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas wants to be listed as Roger “Doc” Marshall on the ballot. The secretary of state's office has denied his request, and a state board will decide whether “Doc” is an nifty nickname or a prohibited professional title.

Marshall, a two-term congressman representing western and central Kansas, is running in a crowded GOP primary field. He's also an obstetrician who's treated coronavirus pandemic patients.

Staffers frequently refer to him as “Doc,” as do relatives and friends. His campaign argues it's a nickname.

Kansas law allows candidates to list nicknames on the ballot. Incumbent Kansas House members won re-election in 2018 as Dennis “Boog” Highberger of Lawrence, and Vic “T-Bone” Miller of Topeka.

But Kansas law generally does not allow candidates to list titles on the ballot, to avoid giving them an advantage because of their professions or because they're incumbents. Spokeswoman Katie Koupal said the secretary of state's office cited that rule in denying Marshall's request by email Thursday.

Marshall can appeal, and he did Friday.

The matter goes next to the State Objections Board, which is the secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor. Its meeting has not been scheduled.