Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate looks to change the status quo in Kansas


Danielle Wagner

Democratic candidate for Senate, Mark Holland talks to WSU students. Holland visted the college for a meet and greet on Nov. 4.

Mark Holland, the Democratic candidate for Kansas for the U.S. Senate, visited campus on Nov. 4. Holland is running against Republican Jerry Moran and Libertarian David Graham in Tuesday’s election.

The son of a teacher and a preacher, Holland attended seminary after college and became a reverend. He served as the senior pastor for Trinity United Methodist in Kansas City for 19 years. 

“I learned this,” Holland said. “We all want the same things. Whether we’re from a big city or a small town, we all want meaningful work. We all want opportunities for kids, and we all want to live in a community we’re proud of.”

Holland started his political career as a commissioner in Wyandotte county. In 2013, he was elected mayor of Kansas City, Kansas.

After his term ended in 2018, Holland co-founded a group in the United Methodist denomination to advocate for the LGBTQ community inside of the church.

He said his push to run for the Senate seat was the events that took place at the capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Holland said that seeing confederate and Donald Trump flags fly through the Capitol insulted him and the U.S. people.

“If you don’t pledge allegiance to a flag that has all 50 stars that represent all of us, you’re not really a patriot of the United States of America,” Holland said.

Incumbent Jerry Moran, Republican, is running against Holland seeking his third term in the Senate. During his past 12 years as a senator, he has worked on funding and economic issues. Some of his platforms for this election include health care, agriculture and protection of the Second Amendment— the right to bear arms. 

Moran was the only Kansas Republican congressman to vote for certification of Joe Biden’s presidency. Sen. Roger Marshall and Reps. Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner, and Tracey Mann voted against the certification. The day of the capitol attack, Moran released a statement condemning the actions of President Trump.

Moran later voted against impeaching Trump and received Trump’s endorsement for his next campaign.

During his visit to campus, Holland spoke about his pro-choice views and said that if you believe abortion is wrong, don’t get one. 

“I believe as a pastor, I am uniquely qualified to stand up for the separation of church and state,” Holland said. “I don’t want to push my beliefs on you, and I don’t want you to push your beliefs on me.”

While Holland said he believes that abortion stances are more about the treatment of women than life, Moran is vocal in his pro-life views, contributing $50,000 to the Value Them Both amendment.

The first issue Holland said he would address if elected would be to codify Roe v. Wade. That he looks to “stop the attack on healthcare and stop the attack on women.”

If elected, Holland would join Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall in the U.S Senate. Holland said he hopes to find middle ground and be able to build bridges with Marshall. 

“I can work with people who are left or right of center,” Holland said. “If you can’t see the center from where you’re standing, you might be standing in the wrong place.”

The last time Kansas elected a Democrat to the Senate was 90 years ago in 1932

“When we go to rural communities, we don’t have to apologize for being Democrats,” Holland said. “We shouldn’t apologize for that. We should go tell our stories and listen and hear the concerns of folks in rural communities.”

Although Moran has a large lead on Holland, Holland said he believes that with a push, he can win the race. 

“There’s no Democrat or Republican way to pave a street,” Holland said. “We elect people to solve problems. I think right now Washington, D.C. is the problem we need to solve.”

Election day is this Tuesday. You can find your polling location at