OTTAWA — The challenge is set for any eastern Kansas politician attempting to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Voters have not elected a candidate from that part of the state for a Senate seat in four decades. But that is not deterring Dave Lindstrom, R-Overland Park, a former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end and Johnson County commissioner, from backing down after announcing his candidacy for Pat Roberts’ seat. In fact, Lindstrom is looking forward to the challenge.

“It has been 40 years since somebody from the northeast part of the state has represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate,” Lindstrom said. “We are cognizant of that. When we made our announcement, we were very thoughtful about that as well.”

Lindstrom is not new to statewide and national politics. He was the lieutenant governor choice of Tim Shallenburger, who lost the general election to Democrat Kathleen Sebelius in 2002.

“That was my first foray into politics,” Lindstrom said. “Why am I running? I am running because the country is under attack. There is rhetoric going on in Washington, D.C. that I would have never thought possible. Talks of programs like socialism. That disturbs me. It sets a bad example for people. It sets an example of entitlement.”

Lindstrom retired from the Chiefs in 1986. Since then, he worked in real estate as a developer and owned and operated four Kansas City-area Burger King franchises. Lindstrom also served on the Johnson County Commission for a decade and is an elected trustee for Johnson County Community College for the past seven years. He is chairman of the nonprofit Kansas Leadership Center Board in Wichita and chairman of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which oversees the state’s toll road.

“I know what it is like to employ people,” Lindstrom said. “During the time I was in business, I operated with the philosophy, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ I was blessed to play in the NFL. I was blessed to live in the state of Kansas and Kansas City metropolitan area. I have been compelled to give back to my community, whether it be charitable."

Lindstrom has heard from the state’s farmers that tariffs placed on agricultural products by President Donald Trump is something they can live with.

“To a person throughout the state, they are talking about, ‘We support the President,’” Lindstrom said. “‘Yes, it is short-term pain, but we think there will be a long-term gain.’ That is the patriotism of the farmers and ranchers in this state. I was pleased to hear it.”

Lindstrom said other issues of the campaign are immigration, national security and the deficit.

“We need immigration reform,” Lindstrom said. “I would like to bring some sanity to the immigration issue.”

Lindstrom said the national debt is a huge problem.

“This government overspending is getting crazy,” he said. “I would like to make sure we are not spending more than what we bring in every year. We have a $22 trillion deficit. Our budget is a trillion dollars more than what we take in every year. That is $31,000 and changes every second of the day. It is out of hand and not sustainable. I hope I can bring some stability to politics in Washington, D.C.”