won on the Democratic ticket in 2018 amid a backlash to a sweeping package of tax cuts engineered by Republicans that left the state in a budget crisis. Russell was also the childhood home of Arlen Specter, who represented Pennsylvania in the Senate for decades, first as a Republican, then as a Democrat.

“I think they’re going to have to not be on such rigid ‘I’m a Democrat, I’m a Republican, and we will not do anything together,’” Aldean Banker, a Russell resident who once served on state Republican committees, said. She was an alternate delegate for Mr. Dole at a national convention but voted for Ms. Kelly in 2018. “I think we’re going to have to learn to give and take a little and go back to having a meeting of minds.”

Mr. Trump received 81 percent of the votes in Russell County, which includes the city and surrounding countryside. About 90 percent of Russell residents are white, and about 24 percent of people are 65 or older, compared with 16 percent statewide. The economy is driven by a broad range of industries: agriculture, oil, health care, manufacturing and retail, both along Interstate 70 and in the busy downtown, where a local radio station plays all day on outdoor speakers.

Almost everyone in Russell seems to have a Bob Dole story, or several. Some shared steak dinners with him at Meridy’s Restaurant and Lounge. Others recalled him stopping by the V.F.W. post, where Dole pineapple juice was served in support of his campaign. Others remembered that the senator would gamely stick out his left hand when they extended their right arm; Mr. Dole’s war injuries left him unable to shake right-handed.

posting on Twitter about Kosovo last week and keeping track of Kansas politics.

In a column Mr. Dole wrote shortly before his death that was published in The Washington Post this week, he reflected on his journey from west-central Kansas to some of the highest perches in American government. He also lamented political divisions and said, “Bipartisanship is the minimum we should expect from ourselves.”

“My home at birth was a three-room house,” Mr. Dole wrote. “I grew up during the Dust Bowl, when so many of us helplessly watched our livelihoods blow away with the wind. I have always felt humbled to live in a nation that would allow my unlikely story to unfold.”

announced his second run for the presidency in 1987, said that speech began his interest in politics. He now presides over the Appropriations Committee in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Mr. Waymaster, a Republican who lives just outside Russell and farms with his father, Lance, said Mr. Dole called a few months ago when he was getting ready to work on the wheat crop. They talked about next year’s election for governor, when Republicans hope to reclaim the seat.

Mr. Waymaster said Mr. Dole often pushed for more bipartisanship and more compromise. That art may not be completely dead. Last month, Mr. Waymaster joined other Republicans in the Legislature to pass a bill creating exemptions to employers’ Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Ms. Kelly disappointed some of her fellow Democrats by signing it into law.

“I know there are Kansans who believe this legislation goes too far, and there are others who believe this legislation doesn’t go far enough,” the governor said in a statement. “But I was elected to lead, and leadership means seeking compromise.”

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.


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