It is now becoming apparent that more Kansas politicos believe that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not be returning to his home state to run for the open Senate seat. Though the Secretary has repeatedly denied having interest in a new campaign for legislative office, many potential candidates, media pundits, political analysts, and national and local political activists still predicted he would resign to run.
Over the weekend, educator Kali Barnett (D) declared her candidacy for the 1st Congressional District, apparently believing that the seat will be open. She would have little chance against incumbent Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), so her move provides further evidence of the new belief that Mr. Pompeo will not return to Kansas, and that Rep. Marshall will run for the Senate.
Though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said that he is not planning to return to Kansas to run for the state’s open Senate seat, he was more definitive in comments made earlier this week, saying such a move “is off the table.” Apparently, more people are taking Mr. Pompeo’s comments seriously. According to western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall’s (R-Great Bend) staff, contributions of more than $100,000 immediately flowed into Mr. Marshall’s campaign account after the Pompeo comments were published. It is widely believed that the Congressman will run for the Senate should Mr. Pompeo remain in his current position.
Sara Weir, the former president of the National Down Syndrome Society, announced her congressional candidacy yesterday. She has a strong chance of coalescing Republicans around her political bid before the August 2020 primary, which will help her build a strong campaign organization against freshman Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City). Ms. Davids unseated four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in November, and the 3rd District electorate has typically voted in swing fashion. This could be a race to watch.
As expected, Kansas state Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) officially joined the growing open Senate Republican candidate field yesterday. Ms. Wagle, who first entered the state legislature in 1991 and served as Senate President since 2013, had been indicating she would become a statewide candidate when the legislature recessed.
She joins recent candidates Kris Kobach, the former Secretary of State and gubernatorial nominee, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner announced his candidacy soon after Sen. Pat Roberts (R) made public his intention to retire. Former US Attorney Barry Grissom and ex-Rep. Nancy Boyda are the leading Democratic candidates.
Speculation still persists, however, that US Secretary of State and former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo will also run for the Senate. The Kansas primary is not until August 4, 2020, with a candidate filing deadline not until June 1st so much time remains for the field to solidify.
Former Kansas Governor and Obama Administration Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (D), who Democratic leaders had hoped to recruit into the open Senate race, said yesterday that she will not become a candidate. The lone announced Democrat is former US Attorney Barry Grissom, while ex-US Rep. Nancy Boyda has filed a Senate committee with the Federal Election Commission but has yet to announce that she will run.
Former Kansas Secretary of State and 2018 failed Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach announced that he will run for the open Kansas Senate seat next year. The move will intensify efforts to convince US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to return to his home state to run.
Mr. Kobach was accused of running a lackluster and poor campaign for Governor that allowed then-state Sen. Laura Kelly (D) to win a 48-43% statewide victory. Mr. Kobach was also criticized for his handling of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, where he was the top administrative member, which disbanded without registering any significant accomplishments.
Even the National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman responded with a negative tweet, saying that Kobach could again lose and “simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and the GOP Senate majority at risk.”
Two Democrats took action toward becoming US Senate candidates as we make our way to the 4th of July. Former US Attorney Barry Grissom announced his candidacy, while former US Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) filed a committee with the FEC but says she has not yet made a final decision to run.
Mr. Grissom’s office came under fire when it was discovered that privileged prison conversations between the incarcerated and their lawyers were being slipped to the US Attorney’s staff. Ms. Boyda served one term in the House, unseating then-Rep. Jim Ryun (R) from the Topeka-Lawrence anchored seat in 2006, but losing two years later to now retired Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R). The Senate seat is open in 2020 because veteran Sen. Pat Roberts (R) is retiring.
Though rumors of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo changing his mind and entering the Senate race continue at a brisk pace, one Kansas official refuses to remain on the sidelines. Late last week, Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman David Lindstrom, a former professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, announced that he will enter the Republican Senate primary. Mr. Lindstrom has also been elected to the Johnson County Commission and was the GOP Lt. Governor nominee in the 2002 election.
Former Kansas US Attorney Barry Grissom (D), who served in that position for six years of the Obama Administration, said he plans to announce his US Senate campaign on July 1st. Former one-term Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Topeka), who was defeated for re-election in 2008, also says she is considering entering the Senate race.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R) is retiring, meaning his Kansas seat will be open in the 2020 election cycle. Republicans, however, appear to be hanging back waiting to see if US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will return to the state and run. Though Mr. Pompeo has repeatedly said he will not do so, speculation runs rampant that he will reverse his previous stance.
If the Secretary does not launch a Senate campaign, we can expect 1st District Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), who now has over $1.26 million in his congressional bank account and raised over $700,000 in first quarter 2019, to declare his candidacy.
The Kansas seat should remain in the Republican column, but a party split concerning KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach after he barely won the gubernatorial nomination and did not unify the party behind his general election candidacy allowed Democrat Laura Kelly to snatch the 2018 Governor’s election. With Kobach a possible Senate candidate next year, Mr. Grissom hopes that history will repeat itself.
State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita), who has already confirmed that she is a likely open seat US Senate candidate, took a step yesterday to suggest she will soon enter the statewide campaign. Sen. Wagle announced that she will not run for the legislature in 2020 and promises a further political declaration after the legislative session ends in May.
The Republican field has been frozen waiting for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make a decision about running. Though he has made several public statements indicating that he will not be a Senate candidate, speculation among local and national politicos suggests something different.
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